Plans for a new Latin Quarter to coincide with regeneration of the Elephant and Castle have earned the “full support” of Southwark Council.
Ideas for five projects in a newly-designated Latin American businesses zone were published in an academic paper ‘The case for London’s Latin Quarter: Retention, growth and sustainability’ on Monday.
The paper’s co-authors, Patria Román-Velázquez and Nicola Hill, lay out a “strategic community vision” for how the Elephant’s 96 Latin American businesses can contribute to the area’s revitalisation.
Among the five projects are a pedestrianised Latin Boulevard of shops to link Eagle’s Yard with Elephant Road with public realm improvements to smarten it up.
There is also suggestions for a Latin American market to draw inspiration from Brick Lane and Camden Market; new provision for community spaces with childcare facilities, youth programmes, and language and skills training. The fifth idea is to promote new Latin American events, public art works and murals.
Patria, who is chair of the Latin Elephant charity, said: “The time is now for London to act.
“In the case of the Latin Quarter at Elephant and Castle the risk of displacement and further isolation of Southwark’s small migrant and ethnic businesses is great, and could easily go undocumented.
“This is something that we see time and time again across London, as a consequence of urban change.
“This report sets a pathway to achieve best practice in the way key decision makers and local authorities engage with, account for and incorporate migrant and ethnic businesses and the local community in to wide-scale programmes of regeneration.”
After attending a launch event on Monday where the paper’s findings were showcased, Southwark Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, Mark Williams told the News: “It was a really positive meeting and I committed that we will formally recognise it as a Latin American area.
“I want to look at what support we can give them through the regeneration of the area and help them survive and grow through this change. Our role will be to work with Delancey and Lend Lease to have a retail strategy to accommodate them.”