Demolition of the Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre has been pushed back to 2019, a report from Southwark Council has stated.
In October 2016, the News reported that the developer, a company called Elephant & Castle Properties Co. Ltd, planned to pull down the site and begin construction in 2018, as was indicated by its agents, Delancey Ltd.
The update came at Southwark Council’s cabinet meeting on May 9, which focused on work that needs to be done by the developer before planning permission is considered.
The cabinet meeting agenda also stated that Southwark would consider using compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) to break leases belonging to the Palace Superbowl and Palace Bingo on the centre’s top floor.
But the council has also said it will “require” the developer to provide a “package of measures” to support 27 small businesses inside the centre (among 86 that will be affected by the entire redevelopment scheme) to relocate into the local area.
It was agreed by sitting cabinet members that measures within a “relocation strategy” would include:
- A relocation fund to help the small traders cope with potentially higher rents in alternative units in Walworth Road and New Kent Road
- For the developer to publish a database of vacant units which traders can apply for in the local area
- For the developer to pay for independent business advice, to be provided by Tree Shepherd Ltd, who will also help them access independent surveyors, solicitors, and accountants
- The council has also said it has “secured agreement” for the developer to “provide a number of new affordable retail units” such as garages that could be renovated in Arch Street and beneath Perronet House
Patria Roman of Latin Elephant – a charity fighting on behalf of the centre traders – raised concerns at the May 9 cabinet meeting about what support would be given to the traders. She later told the News she was given confidence by comments from Cllr Mark Williams (cabinet member for regeneration and new homes) that planning permission would not be given unless a relocation strategy was approved. Council leader Peter John was also reported to have said the developer should work with the traders, and come back to the council in six months.
Meanwhile, Southwark Council has said it could use a CPO to oust the bingo hall and bowling alley if the developer was unable to make a deal with its owner Palatial Leisure, to buy them out.
But Patrick Duffey, managing director of Palatial Leisure, said on Tuesday that Delancey had since produced a “detailed list” of seventeen potential locations to which his bowling alley and bingo hall could relocate.
An Equalities Impact Assessment produced for Southwark Council found that 68 per cent of the 86 businesses inside the shopping centre were in favour of the shopping centre being redeveloped, but that 64 per cent of them wished to be relocated within the local area.
The Assessment also highlighted the potential risk to older people if the bingo hall was forced to close.
It said 63 per cent of bingo hall visitors were Southwark residents, more than 90 per cent of whom visited at least once a week. It was also found that more than 90 per cent of visitors were aged over 45, and 62 per cent identified as Black/African/Caribbean/Black British descent.