Lewisham council was labelled “pathetic” over not taking legal action against a developer that has failed to pay £1.5 million in owed funds – but said it wants to explore talks first.  

Barratt Homes secured a contract to redevelop the Catford Greyhound Stadium in 2009, part of which included providing a footbridge from the development across the railway to Doggett Road.  

If the developer could not build the bridge, it would have to pay a £2 million contribution to the council – minus already wasted costs – secured through a S106 agreement.  

As part of the agreement, specific steps needed to be taken by certain dates to enable Barratt to provide the footbridge.  

Barratt told the council last year that it could no longer deliver the footbridge so would instead pay over the money – but it has yet to foot the bill.  

At full council last week, resident Mark Morris asked the mayor of Lewisham for an update on the enforcement of the agreement and what steps the council had taken to inform the public of any progress. 

The most recent move from the council was to send a letter asking for a £1,515,537 contribution after Barratt suggested paying less than a third of that last year.  

Mayor Damien Egan said: “On October 16, Lewisham’s then-interim chief executive Janet Senior wrote to the managing director of Barratt London Limited (BLL) regarding the outstanding S106 contribution.  

“The letter was clear that the sum proposed by BLL to address the non-delivery of the footbridge between Catford Green and Doggett Road was insufficient and did not fully address the legal agreement attached to the planning permission.  

“Lewisham’s letter proposed £1,515,537 as a reasonable amount of S106 contributions.  

“We have yet to receive a reply to this letter and I have instructed officers to continue to liaise with BLL so that an agreement can be reached as soon as possible.” 

Barratt told News Shopper that it was still in talks over the owed figure and would contact the council “within the next few days”. 

Mr Morris, addressing full council last week, asked why the council was “just writing letters” instead of taking legal action.  

He said: “Why isn’t Lewisham Council taking legal action against Barratt instead of just writing letters and hoping one day we’ll enforce a planning agreement that was confirmed by this council nine years and ten months ago? 

“When are you going to get a grip on this?” 

Mayor Egan said the council was in “active discussions” with the developer and would update the public when it gets a response, adding: “We still believe we can negotiate and would like to exhaust that action first.” 

Mr Morris was unsatisfied with the action taken, branding it “pathetic” and “embarrassing”.  

Stephen Thompson, managing director of Barratt East London, said: “We are working with the council to agree the s106 contribution for our development at Catford.  

“With increased planning and design costs incurred we are in discussion with them on what the appropriate contribution should be and a letter about this will be sent to them shortly.  

“We look forward to working constructively with them on this.”