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Blundering council accidentally reveals secret Heygate papers

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Blundering council accidentally reveals secret Heygate papers

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Development

Green light for L&Q plans to build new homes for Heygate Estate residents Green light for L&Q plans to build new homes for Heygate Estate residents

Secret papers about the Heygate regeneration project have been accidentally disclosed online by Southwark Council.

The complete regeneration agreement between the Labour council and developers Lend Lease has been leaked after it was uploaded to the council's own website.

Though the previously unseen financial information initially looked to be redacted in the digital file, users were able to 'copy and paste' all of the text into a new document, removing the black marks over the confidential parts.

Critics of the council have claimed the papers show the council has badly negotiated the Heygate deal.

The document was soon removed from the website, however it is still available via ‘cached’ pages on the internet and downloaded PDF files obtained by campaigners.

In a joint statement from the Southwark Liberal Democrat council group leader Cllr Anood Al-Samerai and local MP Simon Hughes, local Liberal Democrats said: "The Lib Dems in Southwark have long been calling for full publication of the Labour council’s deal with Lend Lease, which has now been made public because of a council blunder.

"The document just published makes it clearer than ever that Labour did not get a good deal for local residents or Southwark Council taxpayers.

"This raises big questions about the low price Lend Lease bought the land for, and why the developers of Southwark’s biggest development are being allowed to make their profits at the expense of desperately needed local housing at social or affordable rents.

"We will now be interrogating Southwark’s Labour bosses and the details of their agreement with Lend Lease. We will insist that the Labour council now answers the uncomfortable questions which they have ducked so far. The regeneration of the Elephant and Castle must not mean local people being pushed aside for developer profits."

Cllr Fiona Colley, the council's Cabinet Member for Corporate Strategy and Regeneration, said: "This £1.5bn scheme is about delivering our ambition to create an amazing new quarter of London from which all communities will benefit. The Elephant and Castle is a unique and world-beating project that will deliver 2500 new homes in the heart of the capital, 6000 construction jobs, a brand new leisure centre nearby, major transport and infrastructure improvements as well as a major new park for local residents. We believe, as do our specialist external advisors, that these plans are financially robust and offer a good deal for Southwark's residents . This amazing initiative is vital for the future of our borough and is being delivered against the backdrop of the ongoing recession." 

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