Lewisham’s mayor and cabinet have rubber stamped nearly £2 million towards the multi-million pound restoration of Beckenham Place Park, but concerns were raised about the scrutiny of the scheme’s finances.

This comes after the Environment Agency withdrew funding for a flood alleviation scheme on the east side of the park, which included landscape restoration work.

The flood alleviation scheme would protect Lewisham and Catford town centres from river flooding, with the area in a flood plain.

But the agency found its own plans were not cost effective, cabinet member for parks, Sophie McGeevor, said.

Lewisham Council had already pledged £2 million to the agency’s flood alleviation scheme.

But Lewisham has now committed the money towards a new bridge over the river, increased biodiversity and wetlands habitat, play area, and a toilet and refreshment kiosk.

The fund will also cover the £300,000 removal of asbestos and other contaminants found once work began. It also includes two months of ‘stand still’ costs.

The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded the council £4.9 million to redevelop the park in 2016.

Work to restore several of the listed buildings and a lake for wild swimming is expected to be finished by the summer.

Work on the eastern side of the park will be finished by summer 2021 at the earliest.

Addressing the mayor and cabinet, ward Councillor for Bellingham, Alan Hall, said he supported the scheme but wanted to look at the park’s finances.

“How can we comment on it if we don’t see the report and don’t have an opportunity to interrogate the narrative and also have a look at financial contributions, because I haven’t seen it”, he said.

“If ward councillors cannot have access to the information in a timely manner and have proper scrutiny, how can we be sure that proper decisions are made?

“By not answering councillor questions in this way it is a failure of financial control,” he added.

But Cllr McGeevor said cabinet members and council staff had been “open and transparent.”

“In our plans we have had quarterly meetings. I have responded to every question sent my way. Officers have been open and transparent about what’s going on. This is a huge project. We are talking about the complete transformation of the park,” she said.