35% Campaign update – Delancey deals double blow to shopping centre traders

Delancey deals double blow to shopping centre traders

Apr 29, 2019 12:00 am

Tesco leaves, bingo hall boarded

Traders at the Elephant and Castle shopping centre were dealt a double blow last week, by the closure of Tesco and the erection of a large unsightly hoarding, isolating shops on the second floor.

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The 8-foot high boards surround the bottom of the escalator to the Palaces Bingo and Bowling Hall, which has now closed. Delancey claim it is necessary to prevent children getting onto the escalator and becoming a site for anti-social behaviour. Traders, however, have demanded its removal, saying it is blighting their trade and customers will assume that the centre is closing.

Traders were also rocked by Tesco’s announcement that it was permanently closing the Metro supermarket in the centre. This follows four weeks of closure, to deal with a mice problem.

Local news website, SE1, reported Tesco as saying “We have today announced to colleagues that we have taken the difficult decision to close our Elephant & Castle Metro store”. An earlier announcement had said that the store was only “temporarily closed” while Tesco worked with Delancey and “a specialist pest control company to take urgent steps to deal with this problem”.

Both these events will reduce the ‘footfall’ in the centre, which smaller traders rely on for their custom and the responsibility lies squarely with shopping centre owner and developer Delancey.

The hoarding on the second floor is oversized, obtrusive and unnecessary. The Palaces can be safely closed by securing the doors at the top of the escalator, and the escalator itself does not need an 8-foot high barrier to prevent children climbing on to it. The hoarding was erected without any consultation with traders and is having a detrimental impact on their businesses.

Delancey manage centre’s decline

Delancey have been the landlords of the shopping centre since 2013, when it bought the centre with the express intention of demolition and redevelopment. Tesco’s departure is clear evidence that it has failed to keep the centre as a fit place to trade. It follows traders’ long-term complaints that the centre is being deliberately run-down, complaints which were described as having ‘some validity’ by Southwark Council planning officers.

Delancey are obliged by the terms of its legal s106 agreement to give 6-month notice of both the centre’s closure and any demolition. Campaign groups and traders fear that it is evading this obligation, by closing the centre bit-by-bit. Many traders are also angry at being excluded by Delancey in its allocation of alternative premises. The latest figures from Latin Elephant show that there are still 62 shopping centre traders who haven’t been offered any relocation space.

Southwark Council have taken no action, either to deal with the rodent problem or to force Delancey to abide faithfully by its s106 agreement.

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Petition – Keep Tesco at the Elephant!

We think that it cannot be beyond Tesco’s resources to solve this problem and Southwark Council should be insisting that it does so, not standing idly by. The Up the Elephant Campaign has started a petition, ‘Keep Tesco at the Elephant! – please sign it and share!

Save the Elephant’s Diverse Community!

35% Campaign is part of the Up the Elephant legal challange to the planning approval for the redevelopment of the centre, on the grounds that it fails to provide enough social rented housing. If you would like to help us in our fight, you can donate to our funding appeal here.

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Love the Elephant! This Saturday!

Dear Friend

Join Southwark NotesLatin Elephant and Up the Elephant to celebrate our precious community at Elephant and Castle and keep up the pressure for fair treatment for all our lovely traders who face displacement and eviction.

Love the Elephant street celebration!
12-3pm, Saturday 13th April
Outside Elephant and Castle shopping Centre

Timetable
12:00-1pm  – Music and festivities including a short Love the Elephant procession to the shopping centre for a public display of support. Bring your DIY placards and flags please!

  • Kids making sessions
  • Open mic for speeches

1pm -2pm – Teach-out session: Fighting gentrification at the Elephant
2pm-3pm  – Teach-out session: London traders campaigns and social cleansing
FB Event
Up the Elephant Twitter
Update from 35% Campaign on the traders’ situation

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Regards
Jerry

35% Campaign update – No room for traders in the new Elephant

Mar 30, 2019 12:00 am

Shopping centre traders left out in the cold –

Just thirty-six independent traders from the Elephant & Castle shopping centre have been allocated new space in which to trade, in the event of the centre’s demolition and redevelopment. Despite concerns raised by the Chair of the ‘Traders Panel’ and his fellow panel member, the figure is trumpeted in a self-congratulatory press-release from Southwark Council and belies the true situation which is that at least 40 traders have been left out in the cold, according to Latin Elephant, who champion the cause of all independant ethnic minority traders. Southwark News reported that 28 applications for space were rejected.

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The new spaces are a mixture of permanent affordable units, at the base of the Elephant One Tower and on the ground floor of Perronet House (the ‘Elephant Arcade’), and temporary affordable units in Castle Square.

No room on the Park

Noticeably absent from the relocation sites are the affordable retail units on Elephant Park, formerly the Heygate estate. At over 1300 sqm, with circa 800sqm available in 2019, this is by far the largest of the four sites presented to Southwark’s planning committee as alternatives for displaced traders. This 800sqm of affordable retail comprises 8 units all located on one street (Sayer St), pictured in the CGI below (extracted from Lendlease’s marketing brochure).

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Unlike the other 3 sites, Elephant Park is under Lendlease control, not Delancey or Southwark, so the suspicion is that they have no desire to help Delancey, or Southwark, relocate traders, notwithstanding the ‘imagination, empathy and dedication’ it claims to be bringing to the Elephant & Castle. The CGI image above and marketing image below suggest that Lendlease’s vision doesn’t aim to include the likes of Jenny’s Burgers or the Sundial Cafe.

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Lendlease’s new retail units on Sayer Street nearing completion

A predictable debacle

A relocation strategy that only to relocates half of those who need relocation is a failure by any measure, more so when that failure is entirely predictable. Objectors, led by Latin Elephant, have consistently pointed out that Delancey’s half-hearted and dilatory ‘strategy’ simply did not provide enough space to accommodate all the traders who wish to stay at the Elephant and this has remainded the case, even as the number of traders has inevitably changed over time.

In the summer of 2017 Southwark estimated that there were about 130 independent businesses, occupying 4005sqm within the ‘red-line’ of the development (excluding the Hannibal House office space). Latin Elephant calculated that all available space, including Elephant Park (East St market spaces, nearly a mile down the road), could accommodate 84 businesses on 2,263 sqm – not much more than half the floorspace required and leaving at least 38 eligible buinesses out in the cold.

In March 2018, Latin Elephant objected to Delancey’s planning application, on the grounds that the amount of affordable retail space fell far short of the 4000 sqm needed. Nonetheless, the officer’s report for the application, lumped the new shopping centre’s affordable retail with the affordable retail of Elephant One and Elephant Park. The report noted that over a third of that space would not be completed until 2024, but nonetheless reached the comforting concluson that the total of 3866 sqm was ‘only marginally short…of the 4,005sqm of space currently occupied by independent retailers on the east (shopping centre) site’ (para 221).

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By January 2019, Perronet House had been approved and Castle Square itself went to planning committee, so the officer’s report for this wisely drops any reference to the shopping centre, to reach an affordable retail total of 2,859sqm. The report acknowledges that ‘whilst this would be less than the 4,005sqm currently understood to be occupied by independent businesses on the east site, some businesses may be able to operate from smaller premises’ (para 57). Southwark now identified 80 businesses in the redline and gave verbal assurances that there ‘should be sufficient’ units to accommodate everyone.

In an FOI response in March 2019 Southwark gave the number of traders as 79 (an underestimate that treats the several businesses in Arch 7 as one).

Wishful thinking and indifference

While Southwark’s approach to relocating centre traders can be characterised as wishful thinking, Delancey’s can be characterised as indifference. It’s starting position was that providing affordable retail ‘would be unviable and inapproriate’ (para 4.63) and that a relocation strategy would only be forthcoming, once Delancey had secured planning approval (an aim it acheived). Only the concerted efforts of local campaigners and councillors has dragged concessions from Delancey, including Castle Square, a relocation fund, as well as the affordable retail units, but more is needed. Traders must be given more space for relocation and securer leases; the centre itself needs urgent maintenance and promotion, so that businesses remain viable. The relocation fund of £634,700 is not enough to for the number of traders who need its help.

It’s not too late

In the meantime, it’s not too late to put a stop to this disastrous and inequitable scheme. The application for a judicial review of the shopping centre planning permission continues its legal progress. We want the permission quashed, for a scheme with more social rented housing and a better deal for traders.

You can find out more about the legal challenge here and you can help fund our fight by donating here.

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Chaucer Ward – Incident in New Zealand

Friday, 15 March, 2019

AS – Central South

BRIEFING NOTE

Terrorist Attack in New Zealand

Following the horrific events overnight in New Zealand the following message has been released by AC Neil Basu, the National Policing lead for Counter Terrorism:

“We are monitoring events in New Zealand closely and send our condolences to all those affected. Our international network of UK counter terrorism officers will be ready to support our counterparts in New Zealand in responding to and investigating this appalling attack.

“We stand together with all our communities and partners here in the UK and overseas, and will continue to work with them to counter the threat no matter where it comes from. Together with our intelligence partners we continually monitor the varied threats we face, including to and around places of worship and specific communities across the country, to ensure we have the most appropriate protective security measures in place to keep people safe.

“Today we will be stepping up reassurance patrols around mosques and increasing engagement with communities of all faith, giving advice on how people and places can protect themselves.

“Places of worship can also utilise our online training package ‘ACT Awareness eLearning’ for advice on Protective Security and how to react should the worst happen. It can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/act-awareness-elearning. We’d also encourage everyone to be aware of our Run, Hide, Tell advice.

“We take all forms of extremism seriously and anyone with concerns about someone becoming radicalised can get advice and support through the PREVENT programme at http://www.TLAI.info

“We standing together with our Muslim communities and all those shocked and horrified by this terrorist attack in New Zealand.”

We aim to make London the safest global city;

Be the best crime-fighters, by any measure;

Earn the trust and confidence of every community;

Take pride in the quality of our service;

So people love, respect and are proud of London’s Met”

Officers from Central South BCU will be providing extra reassurance patrols at key locations over the course of the day. Doubtless, members of the public will be shocked and very concerned at this terrorist outrage but at the current time we have no information or intelligence to suggest this is anything other than an extremely tragic but isolated incident.

The MPS is committed to making London the safest global city and we continue to take a zero tolerance approach to hate crime. If members of the community have concerns then please contact your local Neighbourhood police teams or in cases of urgency dial 999. We stand together with the community in tackling extremism and hate in all its guises.

Pease do contact my staff office or me if you have any questions or wish to discuss any further aspect of this incident with me.

Regards,

Simon Messinger

Detective Chief Superintendent

BCU Commander – Central South