Concerns have been raised over how the council-owned company responsible for the development of the Catford Shopping Centre is managing its finances.

An internal audit of the Catford Regeneration Partnership Ltd has found the Lewisham Council-owned company managing the Catford shopping centre redevelopment has no effective means of controlling its income, with no documented supervision of payments.

The shopping centre is part of rengeration plans for Catford, which include emptying Millford Towers of residents, redeveloping the Catford Greyhound Stadium site into 589 new homes with commercial floor space and a community centre, a Catford Broadway pedestrian zone and a new route for the South Circular.

But an internal report has found the company, which was created in 2010 to purchase leasehold interests in and around the Catford centre, does not have an “effective budgetary control in place.”

According to the report: “The process for budgetary control for the Catford Regeneration Partnership Limited is not documented.

“There was no evidence provided that budget monitoring is performed or that reports are produced. There was no evidence in the Catford Regeneration Partnership board meeting minutes of any budget monitoring reports being presented or discussed,” the report read.

The report has also found the company has no contracts with key professional services, such as property managers, solicitors and professionals to undertake surveys and negotiate rent.

The report also raised transparency issues around when the Catford Regeneration Partnership board met – which was irregular – as well as who attended the meetings, and the number of directors at the company.

The number of directors should have increased from two to three – and include a non-executive member, according to the report.

This follows concerns raised as far back as 2014 about the robustness of scrutiny.

But at the time of the audit there were still only two directors, who were appointed by the council.

According to Lewisham Council documents, the company was set up to purchase leasehold interests in and around the Catford centre and  manage and regenerate the property to improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of the London Borough of Lewisham.

A Lewisham Council spokesperson said:“Catford Regeneration Partnership Ltd was established as an arm’s length private company to acquire and manage the Catford Centre. It is only currently responsible for the shopping centre, not the wider regeneration of Catford.

“The partnership is addressing the points in the audit and tightening up its procedures. Accounts are independently audited, publicly available and reported to meetings of all councillors. The partnership has a good track record in filling its vacant shops and bringing empty and derelict parts of the centre back into commercial and residential use. The partnership has recently attracted Catford’s first multi-screen cinema for nearly 20 years.”