"Undemocratic and unsustainable" is how Tooley Street Tenants' and Residents' Association describes Ken Livingstone's threat to issue a compulsory purchase order for Southwark's land at Potters Fields.
A statement issued this week by Tooley Street TRA accuses the Mayor of London of "selling out local people to fat cat developers" with his recent threat to use his compulsory purchase powers to ensure that Berkeley Homes's controversial development at Potters Fields is built by forcing Southwark Council to sell its section of the contested site.
The strongly-worded statement continues: "It does not take a rocket scientist to see the lies hiding behind the spin of their so-called commitment to sustainable communities and the environment."
"Any mayoral action taken to push through this compulsory purchase will be taken as a violation of democracy, and will be remembered at the ballot box."
Tooley Street TRA has added its endorsement to The Hill, Ahh...'s proposal for a cultural centre housed in an artificial green hill on the Potters Fields site which already enjoys the backing of Billy Bragg and various actors.
"The alternative of The Hill is the only viably sustainable proposal to date. It incorporates within its thinking both energy conservation and the needs of local communities and visitors alike. The educational needs of Southwark and the wider metropolis are taken into account with the cultural and IT learning environment being enhanced for the 21st century within the Lambeth College site."
The statement adds: "The theme of the Hill as well as being a credible pointer towards environmental sustainability, will act as an identifiable focal point for all people. This Potters Fields site will become a self sustainable landmark in the very heart of the capital, setting the standard for alternative energy use and the inclusion of wildlife and a more natural environment, also adding to Southwark's proud heritage river facade."
Ken Livingstone's main rival in next May's mayoral election is Conservative candidate Boris Johnson. He used his speech to the Conservative Party conference on Sunday to attack the current mayor's confrontational approach to planning.
Johnson pledged to "[use] mayoral power to encourage more social housing and more rented housing; but not in the counter-productive and anti-democratic way of Gordon Brown's new friend the Labour candidate who seeks to wreck the skyline of London's boroughs, by going against the wishes of local communities and their leaders."
He added: "With rabbit-hutch tower blocks containing some of the smallest rooms in Europe and a blind repetition of the mistakes of the 1960s, let's stop this ego-fuelled civil war in London and let's build homes that will still be loved and valued and conserved in 100 years time so that future generations will look back on our generation with admiration and respect for our foresight, and not blame us for the ghettoes of tomorrow."
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