The council has responded to claims that people are being “kept in the dark” over the development of a site in Stanmore.

Anmer Lodge in Coverdale Close, the adjacent car park and Stanmore Library, Stanmore Hill, are currently being marketed by the council. Three companies have placed bids on the site, and some people believe one of the bidders is Tesco, which bought the library in 2007.

In a meeting last night, Councillor Marilyn Ashton, (Conservative), slammed the council for not revealing who the bidders were. She also expressed concerns that a “systems deletion” meant important emails about the development could not be accessed, after she put in a freedom of information request.

A statement released from the council this afternoon assured that this was “not the intention” of the council.

It said: “Nothing of material importance was deleted during the routine deletion of emails. Email is not a storage facility, so if we require information to be retained we would always use other methods on this.

"There is a procedure to be followed when councillors require access to restricted or sensitive information, in this case, information that would be commercially sensitive. Had this been done by any of the councillors, the information on the three bidders would of course have been shared.

"Consultation on both Anmer Lodge and the Stanmore District site will be full and inclusive and residents will be given every opportunity to have their say.

"The council's intention is to simulate much needed economic growth, to secure the future prosperity of the borough."