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Council delays decision on sale of Styles House homes in The Cut

Southwark's regeneration boss has admitted that plans to sell council homes in The Cut to a private developer should not have been scheduled for approval at a forthcoming cabinet meeting.

Proposals to rubber-stamp the sale of the low-rise block of eight homes alongside the main tower at Styles House had been published in the council's 'forward plan', a list of forthcoming major decisions.

At first the council's resources boss Cllr Richard Livingstone suggested that reports of a planned sell-off were incorrect, tweeting that "I've not seen anything to suggest that, and I would know if it were true."

Later Cllr Livingstone said that officers had not briefed him on the sale proposals.

Now Cllr Fiona Colley, cabinet member for regeneration, has admitted that the inclusion of the sell-off plans on the cabinet agenda for 19 November was premature.

She tweeted on Wednesday: " shouldn't be on forward plan and won't be going to cabinet".

Cathedrals ward Lib Dem councillor David Noakes welcomed the climbdown, but told the cabinet members: "I'm sure you can understand how upset and angry residents were to find out third hand their homes could be sold."

He warned that the haphazard communication of the council's plans would make residents wary of the authority's intentions for the site: "If residents are to have any confidence in the council they must listen to and accept the views of residents."

Further details of the council's negotiations with developers were revealed in another cabinet report published this week.

"Initial discussions have taken place with a private developer, Development Securities, who have an option to acquire a derelict building adjacent to the estate," said the report on the council's plans to build thousands of new council homes across the borough.

"Development Securities are proposing a jointly delivered scheme with the council that could be of mutual benefit.

"If it was possible to agree a scheme that had the support of residents, any new affordable housing developed as part of it should be council stock and therefore would need to be identified for inclusion in this programme."

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