London SE1 website team

After 28 months of talking, is Southwark about to sign Elephant & Castle deal?

Southwark's Labour leader has voiced fears that a deal between the Lib Dem/Tory council executive and developers Lend Lease for the Elephant & Castle regeneration could see affordable housing and leisure facilities cut from the plans.

Heygate EState
The Heygate Estate seen from the top of the Strata SE1 tower

With the latest exclusivity agreement between Lend Lease and Southwark Council thought to be due to expire at the end of this month, the council's ruling executive will discuss heads of terms for the Elephant & Castle deal at its meeting on Tuesday night, but no further details have yet been made available.

"Throughout this process the Lib Dems have kept local people in the dark," says Southwark's Labour Group leader Cllr Peter John.

"The residents and businesses of Elephant & Castle deserve better. It would be outrageous it the details of the deal were slipped out at the last minute, to be rubber-stamped by the executive with no opportunity for a full debate.

"Lib Dem leader Cllr Stanton needs to release details of the deal now, so that local residents can be certain that they are getting the new affordable housing and a new pool they expect.

"We all want to see this vital regeneration project get underway, but not at the cost of implementing a sub-standard scheme that doesn't meet aspirations on affordable housing, local business support or green spaces."

A Southwark Council spokeswoman told the London SE1 website: "As previously reported, discussions to advance the Elephant & Castle scheme are ongoing and we are very pleased with the positive progress made so far.

"In line with earlier decisions a report is being finalised for the meeting of the executive on 24 November.

"We are unable to provide any further information at this time as the report is being finalised. It will be published in due course."

Last week Mayor of London Boris Johnson told a public meeting that he is "actively trying to broker" a deal between Southwark Council and Lend Lease Europe.

Southwark Council selected Lend Lease Europe as its preferred partner for the transformation of the Heygate Estate and Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre sites in July 2007. 28 months later, a final development agreement has still not been signed.

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