By Ali Nobil Ahmad
Criticism of Southwark Council’s plans to sell off historic buildings and move its offices to Tooley Street confronted a top official at a community council meeting in Peckham.
Local residents denounced the council’s plans to sell some listed buildings – “jewels of the borough” – to the private sector.
Chief Executive Annie Shephard unexpectedly came under siege when she was asked to take questions from members of the public after a brief welcome address on behalf of the council. The gathering had been set up as a ‘Pride of Place’ event.
Shephard responded to the criticism by claiming that the council had to reduce its municipal costs because of a £30 million cut from central government, and pointed out that the alternative would be to cut front-line services.
However, Cllr Barrie Hargrove suggested that the Tooley Street move represents a poor choice of venue for relocation: “We’re taking resources out of communities that need them and putting them into Tooley street, which is a rich area that does not need regeneration”. He also said he believed the old town hall in Camberwell had been deliberately run down so that it could be sold off.