Liberal Democrat councillors have raised serious concerns about the decision making process which led to a critical day centre being promoted as a potential developer site.
The Riverside Day and Queens Road centres, which support 160 adults with learning disabilities and complex needs, had both been earmarked for development for some time with the Riverside Day Centre even promoted as a development site at a developer meet and greet last November.
The Riverside Day Centre has since been offered a reprieve after a hard-fought campaign run by the families of users and Liberal Democrat Councillors which led to a dramatic u-turn by the Labour administration.
However it is the process leading up to this reprieve that most concerns Southwark Liberal Democrats. Lib Dem Councillors previously put forward a motion to ‘initiate an urgent investigation into the decision making processes’ involved in the earlier decision not to renew the leases for the two day centres, this was rejected overwhelming by the Labour group at March’s Council Assembly meeting.
Southwark Liberal Democrats are now seeking reassurances that discussions that took place between the children’s and adults services and the regeneration directorate were above aboard. A Freedom of Information (FOI) request demanding more information was first made on the 1st of March 2017. However this has been delayed with no explanation provided by the council. The 20 working day deadline has passed, as has the extended deadline, with Liberal Democrat members now asking what is the Council trying to hide?
Councillor Anood Al-Samerai, Liberal Democrats Group Leader in Southwark, said:
“Serious questions have to be asked about the way in which the Labour administration has handled the decision making process related to these two critical day centres. Some of the most vulnerable people in the borough use these services and they have been kept in the dark.”
“An urgent investigation into the decision making process was rejected by Labour councillors however we didn’t stop there and have now formally asked, through a FOI request, that the council disclose information on how the decision was made to include the Riverside Day Centre as a development site before informing The Camden Society. This request was made nearly four months ago.”
“So the question is, what is the Council trying to hide?”