Elephant and Castle campaigners apply to appeal High Court decision

Katherine Johnston (04 March, 2020) Regeneration

'Our campaign has managed to achieve a better deal for traders and the local community but the development is still not good enough' - Tanya Murat

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Housing campaigner Jerry Flynn has lodged an application for permission to appeal the High Court’s decision to approve the demolition and regeneration of Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre.

The application, made to the Court of Appeal, was made by Mr Flynn from the 35 per cent campaign for more social housing and affordable housing in the borough.

The move is supported by a coalition of activists – known as ‘Up the Elephant – who object to developer Delancey’s plans, already approved by Southwark Council and the London mayor.  They will hold a fundraiser on Friday, March 13, hoping to raise funds for an appeal.

Mr Flynn said: “We were naturally disappointed that the High Court did not find in our favour.  But we believe that this development is much too important not to do everything we can to get more social rented housing and a better deal for the traders, so we decided to go to appeal.

“We have had fantastic support from everyone in the local community and we will be building on that as we continue our battle.”

The three-year campaign has yielded fruit. Last month Southwark Council announced it would give an additional £200,000 to help affected traders, some of whom are yet to find new premises for when the shopping centre closes in July this year.

Since the first application was submitted to Southwark Council’s planning committee, the development’s number of homes for social rent has increased from 33 to 116.  Traders have also benefitted from more support including a temporary retail site – Castle Square – and relocation funding.

But Mr Justice Dove, at the Royal Courts of Justice, did not find in campaigners’ favour and, like the mayor, gave the development the green light.

Paul Heron, a solicitor from the Public Interest Law Centre, described the judgement as “far too forgiving of the advice that officers provided to the councillors which led to planning permission being granted.”  He said there was a ‘robust case’ for a Court of Appeal challenge.

“Only about half of the traders have new premises and even those are often small and unsuitable,” said Tanya Murat, from Southwark Defend Council Housing, one of the campaign’s backers.

“Our campaign has managed to achieve a better deal for traders and the local community but the development is still not good enough.”

To donate to the campaign, visit www.crowdjustice.com/case/save-the-elephants-diverse-com-appeal

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