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Bankside is engine of Southwark economy says cabinet member

"We are not abandoning the riverside and going to move all the money down to Peckham," Southwark's cabinet member for regeneration Cllr Fiona Colley has told Bankside residents.

Cllr Colley was speaking on Monday evening at the Bankside Residents' Forum AGM held at Bankside Community Space in Great Guildford Street. She said that she wanted to give this assurance because the Labour members mostly represented Camberwell, Peckham and Walworth.

"We see Bankside as the real engine house for Southwark's local ecomony," she said. "It's an area that needs to do well for the borough to do well. So we are not in any way seeking to pull funds out of this area. We want to see this area improve."

She acknowledged the record of sitting Liberal Democrat councillors Adele Morris and David Noakes in speaking up for those living in Cathedrals ward.

Cllr Colley said that Southwark Council was looking to improve the public realm, protect green space and see continued business growth.

However, she expressed concern that the local unemployment figure had not dropped and hoped the council's newly negotiated investment in Southwark College – linked to the Shard development at London Bridge – would result in local people being trained to take up new local jobs.

Local Liberal Democrat councillors have voiced fears that Southwark's new Labour administration will alter long-standing planning policies to allow developers building luxury apartments near the river to meet their affordable housing obligations by providing cash for new homes in Camberwell and Peckham, resulting in a less mixed community in the north of the borough.

There are also concerns that Lib Dem-dominated Borough & Bankside Community Council and Bermondsey Community Council could see some of their Cleaner Greener Safer funding diverted to other parts of the borough.

Borough Market chair Peter Wilkinson said that the market employed local people and that was a very important part of the market's mission. He told residents that the market was not for tourists but them and real food shoppers. His board of trustees is refocusing on the community's needs.

"Quality is non-negotiable," he said. "I want everyone who brings their hard earned money to spend, no matter how little or how much, to know that they have left with something special for their table.

"Borough Market must remain true to its orgins and retain a sense of place."

Mr Wilkinson said that the market trustees' aim was to keep developers away but stressed that the design of some structures after completion of the Thameslink viaduct in 2012 was still under discussion.

He confirmed that plans for a food school opposite Southwark Cathedral had been abandoned.

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