Liberal Democrats in Bermondsey are furious that cash meant for affordable homes in the area is being spent miles away in Peckham and Dulwich.
Party activists have now started a campaign to demand the council stops taking money out of Bermondsey, saying the area should not be used as a “cash cow” for other areas.
It comes after local anger about public money from the redevelopment of historic Bermondsey Town Hall was redirected to other parts of the borough, instead of being spent on affordable homes near the Spa Road site.
Developers were asked to pay around £500,000 to the council as part of the deal which has seen the old town hall recently turned into luxury flats known as Bath House Lofts. Despite national rules about ‘Section 106’ money being used in the area affected by any new development, Labour councillors on the planning committee voted to spend the money on four sites in the south of the borough.
Local campaigners Dr Ben Johnson, Damian O’Brien and Helen Walsh – who are all standing as Liberal Democrat candidates in Grange ward in next month’s local elections – have started a residents’ petition on the issue. They are calling on the council to “stop using Bermondsey as a cash cow”, and also to return some of the money from the town hall development back to the local community.
Grange ward Liberal Democrat candidate Dr Ben Johnson said:
“We are furious that our money, meant for affordable homes near the old town hall, is being spent miles away. Local people should benefit from development in our area, but instead the benefits are being redirected to other areas.”
“Bermondsey must not be used as a cash cow by Labour councillors who don’t understand local needs.”
Bermondsey and Old Southwark Liberal Democrat MP Simon Hughes added:
“It is not right that money meant to be used in Bermondsey is routinely being taken out of the area to be spent elsewhere. The Labour-run council must stop rolling over to developers and start getting a better deal for Bermondsey residents.”