Decisions on Development: Time to move on for the Elderly Elephant?

Local stakeholders are still divided by the Elephant and Castle shopping centre (The Elephant) regeneration plan set by developers, Delancey and Allies & Morrison.

The two-phase development plan, first considered in January this year is said to promise 979 new homes, around 175,000 square feet of new leisure facilities and shops as well as a brand-new campus for UAL’s (University of the Arts London) London College of Communication. Despite this, local stakeholders have expressed concerns regarding the redevelopment project and its effect on the community.

Janet, local campaigner explains, “We value the service we get and a lot of the traders. We have good people that we’ve known for years serving us.”

Locals say that the development plan is not inclusive of their needs and fear that the redevelopment will dilute the community and leave traders out of business.

Twitter campaigners, @SouthwarkNotes call the development, “Delancey’s Elephant Shopping Centre social cleansing plans.” alluding to the development as a strategy to cleanse the area of its working-class.

Among the dialogue, the development has been welcomed by others. Some vendors look forward to the plans, stating that the development will help to push their businesses further. They see the plans as necessary in keeping up with London’s ever modernising face as well as to enable that the development of economic growth within Southwark to continue. Local trader, Ms Oyelade says that, “I have no worries about the regeneration project. The area will benefit. More profit will be generated as the area gets busier.”

Delancey have continued to reassure stakeholders about the development and comment that, “We are committed to delivering this project, in line with the Council’s vision for the area, and since the initial Planning Committee in January, we have worked closely with the local community, Ward Councillors and Southwark Council to listen to concerns. Our proposals offer a once in a lifetime opportunity to deliver a new town centre for the area.”

The plan is currently waiting official confirmation, however planning permission has already been granted by Southwark Council’s Planning Committee. Though, the final decision is yet to be signed off by the Mayor of London and confirmation from the Government on listed status for the building is still under review.

Though, seen by few as beneficial, many still see it essential that the development of a newer Elephant not come at the expense of the community. As Janet reiterates, “they can draw up the building and architecture plans but they can’t draw the community.”

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