A shroud of secrecy still remains over Croydon Council’s decision to borrow £145m to build its new headquarters.

The council was accused of brokering the controversial Urban Regeneration Vehicle (URV) partnership with developer John Laing, without transparency or proper democratic accountability, at an emergency council meeting to discuss the issue on Monday.

Last year, the Croydon Guardian revealed how the council was forced to go cap in hand to the Government for money to finance their new headquarters after it emerged John Laing’s attempts to secure a loan would burden the partnership with an extra £94m debt due to rising interest rates.

The URV deal, which was brokered behind closed doors, allows John Laing to receive 50 per cent of the profits from the scheme despite taking on none of the financial risk.

The council insists the 50/50 partnership with John Laing has not changed, despite the fact the developer has failed to secure any funding for the development.

Opposition leader Tony Newman accused the council of giving away “vast chunks of the corporate family silver on behalf of Croydon taxpayers”.

He said: “You had a political and moral duty to place these issues before the Croydon public and at the very least allow their representatives to openly debate them.”

The council would not reveal the details of the John Laing contract citing commercial confidentiality and said it was necessary to build a new headquarters because of health and safety risks at Taberner House.

Councillor George Ayres said he had not been able to view the contract, despite being given permission to do so. He said he received a copy of the contract with most of the information blacked out.

He accused the council of forging ahead with the “flawed” deal to satisfy an “ego trip”.

The opposition also questioned the legality of the deal, expressing concern it might violate EU State Funding laws.

Coun Dudley Mead, defending the deal, said: “If you have the option of borrowing money at a cheaper rate, you go for the cheaper option.

“Our officers would not let us do anything illegal so the EU state funding question is a red herring.”