Shopping Centre stall and demonstration

Dear Friend

Please join us at our Up the Elephant campaign stall on Saturday, 25 January 11.30pm just outside the former Charlie Chaplin pub, on the New Kent Rd side of the shopping centre.

This is in preparation for our demonstration, in support of the traders deputation to Southwark Council’s first assembly meeting of the year on Tuesday 28 January, Southwark Council Head Offices, Tooley St 6pm – everyone who wants a fairer, inclusive regeneration at the Elephant is welcome.

We have also this week made an application for permission to appeal against the High Court decision to refuse our claim to quash Delancey’s planning permission for the shopping centre redevelopment. This was agreed at our last campaign meeting and is the first step in the process of appeal. David Wolfe QC (Matrix Chambers), Sarah Sackman (Francis Taylor Building) and Paul Heron (Public Interest Law Centre) continue to represent us – many thanks to them, as always. We will of course keep everyone updated on our progress.

Regards
Jerry

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35% Campaign update – Elephant traders still homeless

 

Elephant traders still homeless

Jan 20, 2020 12:00 am

Survey shows two-thirds of current traders have nowhere to go -As Delancey announces its intention to close down the E&C shopping centre, research by Latin Elephant has shown that only around 40 out of nearly 100 independent traders still operating at the centre have been allocated new premises.

Latin Elephant’s interactive map, accompanied by supporting evidence, narrates the decline in trader’s numbers, up to late spring 2019. Latin Elephant’s figures show that there were originally 130 independent traders operating in January 2018, of whom only around 40 will be relocated, if the relocation strategy continues on its present course.

How many traders?

The figure of 130 independent traders (ie traders with less than three outlets) was supplied by Southwark Council in January 2018 and later confirmed by officers at planning committee in July. These include market stallholders and businesses in Hannibal House, the office block above the centre, and all lie within the so-called ‘red-line’ of the proposed redevelopment area. Latin Elephant, with the assistance of petit elephant, then conducted its own survey in December 2018, just before the redevelopment was finally granted planning permission. This found only 97 traders remained indicating a loss of 30 traders over a few months.

In March 2019, Southwark responded to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, with a database of 79 ‘independent local operators’, eligible for relocation funds as defined by the legal agreement between Southwark Council and developer Delancey; Latin Elephant identified a further 21 independent businesses omitted from this list.

Latin Elephant also consider that 17 more businesses are excluded from relocation funding, simply by the wording of the legal agreement. These includes sub-tenants in Arch 7, on Elephant Road, and small traders in the shopping centre that rent their space through third parties, such as Forum CentreSpace Ltd.

In any event, in March 2019, Southwark confirmed that only 36 of the 79 ‘independent local operators’ had been offered a relocation unit.

Not enough relocation space

Even though Latin Elephant has voiced concerns about the shortage of relocation units on many occasions, both before and after planning approval, only 40 units are being provided on three sites. Latin Elephant identify 12 units in Perronet House, 8 in Elephant One, and 20 in Castle Square.

In addition to these sites Southwark claim that Lendlease’s Elephant Park development (formerly the Heygate estate) offers 1,350 sq m of affordable retail space, but this only equates to eight units, at most. To date, none of the Elephant Park units has been offered to traders affected by the shopping centre redevelopment, according to an FOI response to a Southwark Law Centre question. Thirty market pitches in East St market were also suggested by Delancey in its planning application, but these are nearly a mile away and have never been delivered.

Unfit database

Delancey has also a legal obligation to maintain a database of vacant retail properties and make it available to eligible traders. Even though Southwark Council says on its regeneration webpage that properties are in the borough and within one mile of the shopping centre, petit elephant found that as of June 2019 many did not meet these criteria. Moreover, many demanded rents between £50,000 and £100,000 per annum, which Latin Elephant has already submitted are beyond the means of small-sized businesses. The whole list of 54 relocation units in the database is here.

So, the best-case scenario is that less than half of all independent traders within the red line have been relocated to premises that might be more or less suitable for their businesses, with all other traders looking at options some distance away and/or too expensive.

Not enough money

Another obstacle to successful relocation is the cost of moving, fitting-out new premises and re-establishing the business. The relocation fund provided by Delancey stands at £634,700, with a vague commitment to an unspecified greater amount, after ‘all claims have been properly assessed’ and ‘taking into account genuine trader hardship’. This averages out at a £17,630 per trader, given thirty-six traders and a very modest £8,034, given 79 traders. In fact, the costs will of course vary, according to size and other needs. By way of example, one business was quoted £121,000 including VAT, for the fit-out works of a 65 sq m unit at Elephant Park.

Feeble enforcement from Southwark Council

The trader’ relocation strategy was inadequate from the start, with too little space to move to and too little money to do it with, but it has been made worse by ineffectual enforcement by Southwark Council.

The relocation process is effectively controlled by Delancey and, in the case of Elephant Park premises, fellow developer Lendlease. Both developers have obligations to provide affordable retail premises to shopping centre traders, under their respective legal s106 development agreements with Southwark Council. Southwark therefore has the power to take action if it thinks that these obligations are not being fulfilled. Traders complain that this is indeed the case, with shopping centre traders not fitting the retail profile required by Delancey and Lendlease for the new Elephant developments. Southwark Law Centre has taken up the case of one trader, refused premises because of the nature of their trade.

Even those traders who have been allocated space have justifiable complaints about its size, cost and position – all critical factors for successfully continuing business. In particular, there are complaints about Perronet House. Despite being owned by Southwark Council, who is thus the traders’ new landlord, both the service charges and rent will be higher there than those for Castle Square, the relocation site owned by Delancey. For example, the rent of a 26 sq m unit on the ground floor in Castle Square is £6,768 per annum, plus £2,256 of service charge (£8 per square foot), while Southwark Council offers a 25.7 sq m unit in Perronet House at an average of £7,645 over 5 years, with an ‘estimated’ service charge of £3,047 (£11 per sq ft).

What information does Southwark Council hold?

Several FOI requests have been made to Southwark, in pursuit of information about the traders’ relocation. The latest request is for information about which traders have succeeded in their relocation requests (thirty-six in number), those refused (28 in number), those who have left the Elephant and Castle, plus the 130 Elephant traders initially identified by Southwark, back in January 2018. Perhaps unsurprisingly this request has been refused, on the grounds that it would prejudice the commercial interests of unspecified third parties; an appeal has been made against the decision.

A bad tale continues

An Evening Standard article, enthusiastically endorsed by Southwark Council leader Peter John, tells the shopping centre redevelopment story that developer Delancey wants the world to believe in – new homes, new jobs, ‘funky street food’. Through their diligent research Latin Elephant and petit elephant tell a different story; one of neglect and broken promises. The independent traders, their families, customers and the social fabric they have built over many years is being pulled apart to enable Delancey and Southwark’s idea of a bright future.

But it is not too late for Southwark to partly redeem themselves – the traders need more space and more money for their relocation fund. Delancey (and Lendlease) are well able to provide it. Delancey’s anticipated profit from the shopping centre redevelopment is at least £137.1m.

The Up the Elephant campaign will be holding a stall on Saturday, 25 January 11.30pm just outside the former Charlie Chaplin pub, on the New Kent Rd side of the shoppin centre.

There will also be a demonstration, organised by the Up The Elephant campaign, in support of the traders’ deputation to Southwark Council’s first assembly meeting of the year on Tuesday 28 January Southwark Council Head Offices, Tooley St 6pm – everyone who wants a fairer, inclusive regeneration at the Elephant is welcome.


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Democracy Fund 2019/20 (Round 2) – Now Open!

Dear all,

Round 2 of the Democracy Fund is now open for applications. The fund is part of the council’s Empowering Communities Programme for Southwark, which makes it easier for residents to discuss and get involved with the issues that directly affect them.

We are encouraging applications from people who may want to apply for funding to hold a one-off meeting in their community. The funding can be used for things like venue hire, equipment hire, publicity and invitations and refreshments.

A total of £20,000 per year is available to be shared between groups across the borough who want to hold meetings or events on issues specific to their local neighbourhood.

During the first year of the fund, there are two application periods with £10,000 available in each round. The first round happened in October 2019 and a list of the successful projects (pdf format) can be found here:  https://www.southwark.gov.uk/assets/attach/11449/Democracy-Fund-1920-Round-1-Successful-Awards-Table.pdf

The closing date for the second round is Monday 3 February 2020.

To find out more information about the Democracy Fund, please visit: www.southwark.gov.uk/democracyfund

Please circulate the attached poster to your contacts and networks.

Regards

Fitzroy Lewis

Empowering Communities Programme Officer | South Area

Communities Division| Housing & Modernisation Department

160 Tooley Street, London, SE1 2QH

Tel: 020 7525 3084 | Mobile: 07958 779 060

Email: Fitzroy.Lewis@southwark.gov.uk

Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EmpoweringDulwich/

Web: https://www.southwark.gov.uk/ec-south

Southwark Heritage Centre and Walworth Library consultation report stage 3

Hello everyone

Following our stage 3 consultation in November/December the summary report is available using the following link

https://consultations.southwark.gov.uk/environment-leisure/wl-shc-engagement-3

Thank you for your ongoing interest in the project, we continue to work on the detailed design getting ready for tender and are programmed to complete stage 3 designs in February.

Kind regards

Jillian Houghton

Project Manager  | Regeneration Division

Place and Wellbeing Department | London Borough of Southwark

160 Tooley Street |London SE1 2QH

PO Box 64529|London SE1P 5LX                                

(T):  02075255414 | (E): jillian.houghton@southwark.gov.uk

www.southwark.gov.uk

 

Resident Involvement Review Update

Dear all,

I attach a set of slides of the current resident involvement proposals that the council has been consulting on over the past 6 months and is currently in the process of discussing with representatives of Tenants Council, Homeowners Council and the TMO Committee .  The aim of the review was to improve the way that the council engages and consults with tenants and homeowners and find ways of ensuring that more people can have their say on their homes and neighbourhoods.

The consultation had over 1,100 responses and the current proposals reflect what people told us through the extensive and wide reaching consultation process, aiming to ensure that:

  • Everyone living in a council home has the opportunity to participate, with more choice of how and when they can get involved.
  • We direct more resources and support to the grass roots including through Tenants and Residents Associations, so tenants and residents have the support they need to improve their local estates and communities, strengthening and improving our support for TRAs and continuing our support for Tenant Management Organisations.
  • All residents living in council homes not covered by a TRA can participate (as well as working with tenants and residents to increase the coverage of TRAs where this is what residents want).
  • We retain elected representation of tenants and homeowners in the formal consultation structures so that tenants and homeowners chose their representatives.
  • We maintain five local housing forums (keeping them separate from the wider Ward Forums) to focus solely on housing issues in each area.
  • We maintain Southwark wide consultation forums for tenants and for homeowners to focus on issues that matter to tenants or homeowners, alongside a joint forum to consider the issues that tenants and homeowners have in common.
  • Residents continue to set the agendas for the housing forums so that they focus on the issues that matter to them, with forums chaired by residents and open to all tenants and homeowners in each area of the borough.
  • Decisions on funding for resident participation are based on what tenants and resident homeowners say they want.
  • We hold an annual Southwark Tenants and Residents Conference and an annual Homeowners conference open to all who want to attend to discuss housing issues in Southwark.
  • We use digital engagement as an additional way to get more people involved including an online panel of residents to give us their views alongside other forms of consultation.
  • We strengthen the link between tenants & residents and the council’s Housing Scrutiny Commission to enhance resident input to the scrutiny of housing services in Southwark.
  • We retain funding for independent support and advice for tenants and homeowners who need it.

In terms of next steps the intention is that we take a report to cabinet in February 2020 that sets out the proposed changes alongside an implementation plan and that we review these new arrangements after the first year to assess their effectiveness and whether any adjustments might be needed, with a report back to Cabinet by June 2021 on this review.

I know that all of your Area Forums are meeting in the next couple of weeks to discuss the housing revenue account budget and would welcome any comments that you may have from discussions at those meetings on our proposals.

Kind regards,

Cllr Kieron Williams

Cabinet Member for Housing Management and Modernisation

Housing Repairs Survey

Dear All,

I’m writing to let you know about a new survey for tenants and leaseholders on Southwark’s housing repairs service. The survey is being carried out by Southwark’s Housing Scrutiny Commission.

The short survey can be found here:  https://consultations.southwark.gov.uk/housing-community-services-department-community-engagement-team/housing-repairs-tenants-and-leaseholder-survey/

The survey is designed to gather data and views about the repairs service since it came back in house in October 2018.

It would be particularly helpful if you could pass this link on to your own contacts who may be interested in providing feedback and by sharing on social media.

The objective of this cross party review is to make recommendations to the cabinet to assist in improving the repairs service for everyone who relies on it.  If you have any questions about the work of the Housing Scrutiny Commission, please just come back to me.

Best Wishes and Merry Christmas,

Gavin

Councillor Gavin Edwards

Chair Housing Scrutiny Commission

 

Public consultation on loneliness and social isolation. Closes 31st Dec 2019

A message from Southwark Council and its partners:

Southwark Council and its partners from the healthcare and the Voluntary and Community sectors are working together to write a strategy to tackle loneliness and social isolation. We would like to hear your views and ideas on how we could work together to make Southwark an inclusive place where everyone feels welcome. Please click here to complete a short online survey and give us your views.

Thank you in advance for any support you can provide with this, and please do let me know if you have any questions.

Best Wishes,

Clizia

Clizia Deidda

Public Health Policy Officer (Mental Health, Substance Misuse & Healthcare) | Public Health Division

Place and Wellbeing Department | London Borough of Southwark

160 Tooley Street |London SE1P 5LX                                

T:  0207 525 7707 | M: 07710 179 570

E: Clizia.deidda@southwark.gov.uk

www.southwark.gov.uk