Southwark Council has been ordered to release financial information about its controversial regeneration of the iconic Heygate estate.
The council has attracted criticism because only a quarter of the 2,469 homes in the scheme, which is being developed with Lend Lease, are affordable. Campaigners have pushed for the level to be increased to 35 per cent in line with Southwark’s standard policies. The council accepted the lower figure because it said a development of 35 per cent affordable would not be viable.
The council has refused to disclose a financial viability assessment on which this decision was based following a freedom of information request last year. The authority cited commercial confidentiality and said this was necessary to protect its economic interests.
The Information Commissioner on 16 July upheld a complaint about the council’s refusal to release the information. It said: ‘The public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in maintaining the exception.’
The decision means Southwark Council must supply the information within 35 days of the decision.
Mojisola Ojeikere, a leaseholder on the Heygate estate, said: ‘The viability assessment apparently contains Lend Lease’s valuation of the existing residential units on the estate.
‘We will be very interested to see how this compares with Southwark’s valuation of our homes.’