A new security company will guard the Tidemill garden from early next week, nearly two months after assurances controversial bailiff company County Enforcement would be replaced.

County Enforcement has been guarding the Lewisham Council-owned site since October when it evicted campaigners who wanted housing development plans between the council and housing association Peabody re-drawn to keep the garden.

Cabinet member for housing, Cllr Paul Bell, in December said County Enforcement “did not fit with Lewisham’s values” and later put the delay down to procurement issues.

This was after residents highlighted the company lists its involvement in breaking the miners’ strike in 1984-1985 on its website.

A Lewisham Council spokesperson said: “A new security company has been appointed and will be taking over at Tidemill from the start of next week. Transition arrangements will commence later this week to ensure the site remains secure and that any attempt to illegally access the site continue to be unsuccessful.

“We have impressed upon our current and future security firm – as we do with all our contractors – that we expect members of the public to be treated with respect at all times.”

The spokesperson did not clarify who the new security firm would be, but said “Peabody is now responsible for securing the site under licence, thereby ensuring a smooth handover once the land transfer is complete.”

This comes after a long dispute between the council, developer and residents, with campaigners only last week told their request for a judicial review had been rejected by the courts.

But resident and campaigner Ruby Radburn, who lives across the road from the boarded-up garden, said the council needs to “take responsibility” for the saga.

She said the council could have waited until campaigners were told the outcome of their request for a judicial review before the eviction, which could have saved on security costs.

The council has so-far spent £918,090 on security at the garden. The cost of the eviction itself was £105,188.

“I think Lewisham Council needs to take responsibility for this and apologise for the way they have handled it. People want Lewisham Council to be held accountable for instigating this in the first place,” she said.

“People are outraged by the waste of money. Even if you agreed with the development, why didn’t they wait until the legal process was over?”

Garden users also raised concerns about being filmed by County Enforcement ahead of the eviction.

But the council spokesperson said the footage was “required to produce a risk assessment.”

Campaigners occupied the garden from August to October last year, with the garden and Reginald House billed for demolition to make way for a 209-home development, 117 of which will be social homes.

Police investigations into allegations of assault by bailiffs against residents and campaigners during the eviction “have not fully concluded,” the council spokesperson said.