Thursday 21 March 2013 10.52am
I am surprised that Ken Livingstone referred to the development next to City Hall
as it is now accepted that Labour should never have tried to forcing through such an ugly and unambitious scheme - what was called at the time the 'daleks'. This was certainly not about gerrymandering - it was about achieving a better deal for existing residents by being on their side. If this is indeed what was said by Ken Livingstone last night he needs to withdraw the comments as they are serious and legally questionable.
Lib Dem councillors worked incredibly hard to ensure that the development that took place on this site was in keeping with what local residents wanted. We were always clear that there must be a cultural space for all to access at such an iconic location. Huge credit should go to my collegue, Councillor Nick Stanton
, who spent tireless hours negotiating on behalf of Southwark residents to get a development that was good for the borough and not just the developers.
This was despite the Labour Mayor and the Labour Deputy Prime Minister trying to force through and over-ride planning decisions made by local councillors and supported by local residents.
Sadly not much has changed when we see a Labour run council pushing through developments with no affordable homes whatsoever despite the desperate pleas from local people for better deals. We absolutely need social housing in Southwark and the way to achieve that is not to rush deals but to fight hard.
It may have taken Lib Dem councillors longer that the Mayor at the time would have liked, but we did get a better deal at Potters Fields because we actually listened to the views of residents rather than forcing luxury flats developments on them.