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Council Accidently Leaks Its Secret Regeneration Agreement With Lend Lease

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Monday 4 February 2013 4.10pm
i'd like to be flies on many walls today :)
Monday 4 February 2013 6.53pm
Peter John just doesn't get it does he?

I notice he replied to the In SE1 news item on this story saying "I am incredibly proud of the progress we have made on the regeneration of the Heygate Estate and the Elephant & Castle....This project has never just been about profit for the council it is about bringing 2,500 new homes; 6,500 new jobs; a new leisure centre, a new shopping centre, new transport infrastructure and public realm to the area and pulling the centre of London over the river...But I am confident that the agreement we have reached with Lend Lease does represent good value for the people of Southwark'.

Of course it's not about profit for the Council, it's about profit for the developer and as much as they can get. For The Council it then has to be about getting as much affordable housing and community benefits out of them as possible.

Not a smaller leisure centre premised on giving Lend Lease a 40-storey tower of luxury flats at the front.

Not public realm improvements all within the Rodney Rd Phase One of Heygate redevelopment because that should be included in the developer plans anyhow. The public realm improvement should be outside the Phase One site. That is a real community benefit. Not the developer getting away with saving money with such a ruse.

Not 2500 new homes where an absolute minimum is really at rents or prices most local people can't afford.

He must think we are really dim if this off-hand message from on high is the best he can muster on an incredibly important leak. But then with such a lack of interest and accountability to local people over the years, the Council can afford to be this glib because they think they can do whatever they like and get away with it.

The agreement is a totally crap deal for local people.
Monday 4 February 2013 7.04pm
just for balance, and I'm not saying I agree, but there was hardly a queue of regeneration developers forming to develop this huge site....and we are still coming out of the biggest recession for decades and lending for development is non existent. So did southwark just wait another 10 years? Maybe this was the only viable deal on the table...

I'm prepared to be shot down in flames!
Monday 4 February 2013 7.23pm
@shaggy - heygate could've been refurbished for some 30M (i'm sure someone will have the correct figure)
that peter john is now quoting '2,500 homes etc' is not fooling anyone. not any more and not ever again - 2,300 homes the whole 71 or 79 of which will be actually affordable for local people to live in.
Monday 4 February 2013 10.14pm
I concur with Shaggy's points.

Is it too much to ask just to let the Council and the Developers get on with it and see development on this site actually happen after 10+ years of inertia?

How will more delays, and expensive judicial reviews and inquiries ever allow the local neighbourhood to improve? And who's going to pay for these inquiries and delays?

And suppose they grant an inquiry - so what will that tell us? That Southwark Council is incompetent and that large corporations like to make as much money as possible?

Why do we need to pay for an inquiry to tell us that?
Monday 4 February 2013 10.39pm
Floodplain wrote:
I concur with Shaggy's points.
And suppose they grant an inquiry - so what will that tell us? That Southwark Council is incompetent and that large corporations like to make as much money as possible? Why do we need to pay for an inquiry to tell us that?

I understand the sentiment, and indeed if it happened it probably would tell us that. But importantly to me it would do two other things.

First it would be a milestone to help torpedo the ludicrous "regeneration" industry. This debacle should prove to all but the self-interested that megalomaniac schemes like this are too big for local authorities like Southwark to manage, and can therefore never bring value or benefit to local residents or government. Future schemes should be planned and implemented done in manageable stages, and thus responsive to changes in the economy and to public views.

Secondly, I think that there is a need to make those involved accountable for this shambles, including those who played a role in starting or continuing the scheme but jumped ship to the private sector and are now reaping the reward for their un-deliverable policies.

And to me this accountability stretches to those who did the deal with Lend Lease. By any standards, 50m is a ludicrously low price to sell 22 hectares of zone 1, even if you forget that Southwark has and is paying almost that amount to evict and demolish buildings that could have been replaced over time in a manageable way. Oakmayne sold their adjacent 1.5 ha site for 40m two years ago. I don't think mismanagement on this scale should go unpunished now just because it has been going on for so long.
Monday 4 February 2013 11.27pm
Luke,

I totally agree with your analysis that Southwark Council should never have been put in charge of the Elephant Redevelopment. And why did they decide to develop Aylesbury in a phased way, but not do this at Heygate?

Yes; I'd love to see corrupt and incompetent public officials in handcuffs, but it's never, ever, going to happen in liberal old Britain is it? - That's just a pipe-dream. (It does happen in other European countries, but that's another story [url=http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marbella_City_Council_dissolution]-click here[/url]).

No bureaucrats or politicans will ever get punished - they never do. The worst that will happen to them, is that they'll be asked to move onto another Council somewhere, and they'll be allowed to retain their generous final-salary public sector pensions. I mean, if you can illegally invade Iraq and get away with it, I'm sure they'd turn a blind eye for these relatively minor indiscretions.

That's what you're up against.
Tuesday 5 February 2013 9.31am
An added benefit of developing the Heygate in a phased way would be:

- they would not have to spend vast sums (45m) achieving vacant possession of the entire lot. That's included decanting, rehousing, securing and demolishing the lot.

- some of it would have been finished by now

- they would have a much bigger choice of developers. Only a handful of developers in the world have the capital to take on the planning, construction, subcontracting etc for a 22ha site that is totally mixed in use. Better to get a residential developer for those parts, a retail developer, an office developer etc and get them competing.

Splitting it into smaller sites is exactly what a developer would do. It is in fact bordering on the irrational that they didn't, especially given that the site has logical split lines such as the roads. Another potential ground for JR!
Wednesday 6 February 2013 11.49am
The media have picked up on SE1's story. Lend Lease continue to "refuse to comment". Not surprised.

Evening Standard

Independent

BBC

New Statesman

24 Dash
Thursday 7 February 2013 1.59am
Last Tuesday's Planning Meeting was interesting when 30 people walked out, denounced it all as a farce and held their own meeting in the Town Hall for a couple of hours:

http://izzykoksal.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/disrupting-southwark-councils-planning-meeting-and-holding-our-own/

Rest of the planning meeting was the usual tit for tat followed by permission granted for the Phase One Heygate Site. Was it ever gonna be any other way? Er no!
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