Australian developer Lend Lease has announced that it will use part of the proceeds of the £100 million sale of its stake in a development site at North Greenwich to invest in the Elephant & Castle regeneration project.
On Monday Lend Lease announced plans to sell its stake in Greenwich Peninsula Regeneration Ltd to Quintain Estates and Developments plc.
The company acquired the rights to redevelop the land close to the O2 arena in 2002. It expects to receive cash proceeds from the sale of £100 million and is in line to make a profit of £25 million on the deal.
In a regulatory announcement to the Australian stock exchange on Monday Lend Lease said: "In line with the group's portfolio strategy, the proceeds received will be reinvested in its strong pipeline of urban regeneration opportunities in the United Kingdom including Elephant & Castle and The International Quarter, Stratford."
The developer will also build a 36-storey tower of homes for private sale next to the Metropolitan Tabernacle as part of the redevelopment of the site of the now-closed Elephant & Castle Leisure Centre.
Local campaigners, many linked to the Elephant Amenity Network, have launched a campaign to hold the council and Lend Lease to commitments to build new affordable housing on the Heygate site.
Although the council's regeneration agreement with Lend Lease stipulates a minimum of 25 per cent affordable housing, the borough's planning policy would call for at least 35 per cent.
The campaigners are alarmed that in the outline planning application documents there is no commitment to any particular level of affordable housing and have launched a website – www.35percent.org – providing an easy way for people to lodge their objections to Lend Lease's planning application.
"I refute any suggestion that the council has changed its planning policy, which states that any new development in the borough, including at Elephant & Castle, is to achieve a 35 per cent quota of affordable housing," says council leader Peter John.
"However, under government legislation no developer is required to build any more affordable housing on a site than is financially viable.
"For the first time, in 2010, a minimum quota of affordable housing for the Heygate site was set, to provide a double lock guarantee that nothing lower than 25 per cent can be proposed.
"Lend Lease and Southwark Council continue to be wholly committed to upholding this agreement, with an aspiration to achieve the maximum we can under planning policy."
Meanwhile the City of London Corporation has written to Southwark Council seeking clarification that the proposed tall buildings on the Heygate site – the tallest will be 30 storeys high – will not impinge on the setting of the Tower of London world heritage site.