35% Campaign update – Why we’re challenging the Elephant & Castle redevelopment plans in court

Jul 03, 2019 12:00 am

Southwark Council – demolishing council homes, generating better people

Twenty years ago, Fred Manson, Southwark Council’s Director of Regeneration laid out the aims of the Labour council’s new regeneration strategy in industry magazine, the Estates Gazette: “We need to have a wider range of people living in the borough” because “social housing generates people on low incomes coming in and that generates poor school performances, middle-class people stay away.” As the Gazette reported it, this was “part of a deliberate process of gentrification that will result in social housing being replaced by owner occupied dwellings and developers being given free rein to build luxury flats” 1.

Since Mr Manson’s 1999 anti-council housing manifesto, the borough has lost more than 13,000 council homes (see graph below) and the proportion of council housing had fallen from 60% of to 28% of housing stock by 2015. This is mainly the consequence of Right to Buy and void sales.

But council estate regeneration, Manson style, is also playing its part. The Gazette article mentions three estates south of Tower Bridge earmarked for demolition. At least eight others can be added, totalling 7,639 council homes and leasehold properties lost. The developments replacing these will provide over 11,000 new homes, but only 3,200 of them will be social rented and while Southwark does now have an council house building programme, it is still knocking down and selling off council homes faster than it is building them.

The proportion of social rented housing is even lower when other major schemes are considered. Analysis of the major schemes approved by Southwark over the last 15 years gives an average social rent component of under 4% out of about twelve thousand homes – well below the Council’s policy requirement of 25%. (Recent approvals of Old Kent Rd developments increase the overall percentage to 10%).

Nearly a thousand new homes, 116 social rented – (maybe)

The Elephant and Castle shopping centre redevelopment is no exception in this regard. A stone’s throw from the demolished Heygate estate, only 116 of nearly a thousand new homes will be offered as social rent (8.6% by floorspace), all to be built nearly ten years hence. Shopping centre owner and ‘specialist real estate investment and advisory company developer’ Delanceysaid that this was as much as it could afford to build, but we now know that with Mayor’s funding they could give us another 42 homes – still a modest amount, but almost enough to reach Southwark’s local plan requirement.

Whether there will ever be even 116 social rent units is also open to doubt. Leaving aside the fact that they won’t be built for nearly ten years, a long time by any measure, Delancey has the option of passing the obligation to build the homes back to Southwark, along with land and ‘sufficient funds’ to fulfil the obligation. We fear that the wording of the development’s legal agreement fails to properly secure this. We also believe that the wording of the legal agreement fails to provide an effective viability review mechanism – a basic policy requirement and a way to get greater affordable and social rent housing, should the development prove more profitable than expected.

As well as housing, the new development will provide about the same amount of retail space as there is in the present shopping centre, but catering for the more well-heeled customer other social-rent free developments are now drawing to the Elephant. The shopping centre itself will be demolished, which will destroy not just the shops of the many independent traders who have made the Elephant their home, including many ethnic businesses, but one of two major social hubs for the Latin American community in London (the other, in Seven Sisters, is under similar threat).

Concerted campaigning has gained some space for these traders in the shopping centre and other new developments, as well as a temporary relocation facility, but there is not enough space for every trader who wants it.Latin Elephant, a local charity and advocate for all ethnic traders in the area, reckons there are nearly a hundred independent traders in the area and, given the practicalities of moving a business and a limited relocation fund of£634,700 only a fraction of traders are likely to benefit.

Delancey’s anticipated profit from all of this is £137m or £148m, according to the last available viability assessments and depending on the grant funding situation. Delancey developments, at the Elephant, are based in off-shore tax-havens, with the shopping centre development registered in the British Virgin Islands.

We must have homes that meet local need

Delancey and Southwark argue that other elements of the scheme – a new Northern Line tube entrance and a campus for the University of the Art’s London College of Communication – provide positives that outweigh any negatives in the housing and retail offer. This is entirely in keeping with the regeneration rationale, as articulated by Fred Manson back in 1999, so successfully implemented by Southwark since then and now making a sizeable contribution to London’s disastrous housing situation – thousands of new homes that many, not just of the poorest, cannot afford to either rent or buy; housing costs for the poorest the ‘worst in Europe’ and a record number of rough sleepers.

From the moment the shopping centre planning application was made over two years ago, Southwark Council has been content to take whatever Delancey has offered, regardless of local need, in pursuit of its wretched gentrification agenda. It has been local campaigners, with the support of some local councillors, who have fought hard over the past two years to squeeze housing concessions and a better deal for shopping centre traders out of the development. We must now fully secure the maximum social rented housing, and not have to wait nearly ten years for them. 42 extra social rented homes are not that many, the London Mayor has the money to pay for them and we are determined that they should be built. We also want a better deal for traders – more space and more money for relocating.

That is why we are challenging Delancey’s planning permission through the High Court. We want the permission quashed and then we want a development scheme at the Elephant and Castle that provides homes and shops that are truly affordable for local people.

If you agree with us, you can help in this fight by donating here or coming to support us at the High Court on Wednesday 17th July.

Footnotes:

  1. Estates Gazzette article published 13 March 1999 

Read in browser »
share on Twitter Like Why we're challenging the Elephant & Castle redevelopment plans in court on Facebook

35% Campaign

image

35% Campaign update – Verney Rd – yet another Old Kent Rd development

Latest blog update on regeneration in Southwark.
Is this email not displaying correctly?
View it in your browser.

Verney Rd – yet another Old Kent Rd development

Jun 16, 2019 12:00 am

Third large application in a month goes to committee -The application for a mixed-use development at 6-12 Verney Rd, just off the Old Kent Rd, behind PC World, is due to be considered by Southwark’s planning committee this Monday (18 June). The proposal is for 3 blocks, the tallest of 17 storeys, comprising 338 residential units, office and workspace and associated open, green and amenity spaces. The application is recommended for approval.

The application follows Malt St, approved less than two weeks ago, Southernwood Retail ParkCantium Retail Park and Ruby Triangle and is the latest of the big developments being rushed through planning committee, in advance of the adoption of the Old Kent Rd Area Action Plan (AAAP.

Verney Rd shares several characteristics with the other Old Kent Rd developments, although somewhat smaller. All have 35% affordable housing, in an approximate 70:30 social rent:intermediate housing split, compliant with the local plan (Ruby Triangle and Malt St have 40% affordable housing). All, though, are technically non-viable, according to their viability assessments, so should be unable, in theory, to meet this affordable housing requirement.

Developer’s estimate of profit shortfall for Verney Rd scheme.

Viability rules?

This contradiction is reducing the consideration of viability into something of a ritual. The developer (in this case CB Acquisition London Ltd, (correspondance address, Cayman Islands)) says that the scheme will only make about half the profit needed to support the affordable housing required and the Council’s appraiser broadly agrees, with some caveats. Then, after ‘stand-back analysis’ or ‘sensitivity testing’ (and with the Bakerloo Line Extension (BLE) very much in mind) the developer graciously agrees to deliver the affordable housing, regardless.

Extract from developer’s viability assessment

This is different to what has been happening at the Elephant and Castle, where every major development used viability to refuse to deliver policy compliant affordable housing, so it must count as progress – but maybe not as much progress as it first appears.

Homes and jobs

Verney Rd is designated in the Mayor’s planning policy as a Strategic Industrial Location. Southwark Council and the Mayor have agreed to the release of such land for mixed use development, including housing, before the Old Kent Rd AAP has been adopted, much to the anger of the many Old Kent Rd businesses.

Such developments, where the industrial land is lost, should provide 50% affordable housing, according the Mayor’s draft New London Plan. This was the case for Ruby Triangle and Malt St, as well as Verney Rd. The draft NLP is not yet adopted, so developers are getting in quick, before it takes full force.

Second, while CB Acquisition Ltd are offering 35% affordable housing, they want any improvement in viability to ‘be used to bridge the current viability “gap” rather than for further planning obligations’ (ie affordable housing). This pre-empts the use of a late review mechanism, designed to capture any uplift in profits for affordable housing when the development is complete. (Malt St was passed without a late stage review mechanism, though both Ruby Triangle andCantium Retail Park have them).

Denser and denser

On top of this Verney Rd is a very dense development – 1180 habitable rooms per hectare – way above the London Plan range of 200-700 habitable rooms per hectare (hrh) for an Urban Density Zone. But even Verney Rd is not as dense as Ruby Triangle (2713 hrh) and Cantium and Southernwood Retail Parks (2353 hrh and 2522 hrh respectively), rendering the London Plan policy a dead letter, as far as the Old Kent Rd is concerned. Together the developments will deliver over 4,600 homes, with a gross development value above £2bn, with the potential for a big impact on profitability from any marginal improvements in the viability figures.

All the Old Kent Rd developers have shown a marked reluctance to take advantage of the grant funding available from the Mayor – only Ruby Triangle and Malt St have done so and then only for 5% of the affordable housing. As the Southernwood Retail Park developer explains it, grant funding would have‘a significant negative impact on the viability of the scheme’.

More or less affordable housing?

So, the picture that emerges is that of a pact being struck – developers will deliver the affordable housing that the local plan requires, but not much more, regardless of the true profitability of the developments and of any ‘strategic’ target of 50% affordable housing, set by the Mayor. On the other hand, should, say, problems occur with the BLE, reducing the prices that can be charged for new homes, it is not hard to envisage developers returning to Southwark, reminding them that they always said their schemes were technically unviable, and looking for a reduction in the affordable housing.

Indeed, this eventuality is even envisaged in the proposed small print of the planning consent.

Paragraph 256 of the planning committee report.

Read in browser »
share on Twitter Like Verney Rd - yet another Old Kent Rd development on Facebook

Delays and Delancey

Jun 15, 2019 12:00 am

Delancey looks to escape blame for its own faults –

In the face of a judicial review of their planning approval for the shopping centre demolition and redevelopment (now scheduled for 17 and 18 August), centre owners and developer Delancey showed a touching concern for the welfare of the traders, making noises about how the ‘timeline for starting on site will be pushed back’, affecting the traders’ hopes for ‘stability and certainty’.

Delancey has not previously been in any hurry to settle the centre’s future, other than entirely on its own terms. This is amply demonstrated by the snail’s pace progress of their planning application. It is a story of constant deferment, caused by Delancey’s refusal to meet the minimum requirements of the Council’s own local plan.

Delancey are culpable in 3 areas – the affordable retail offer, the relocation of the traders and the affordable housing offer.

No affordable retail

The application was lodged on the 28 October 2016 but did not include any affordable retail units, contrary to Southwark’s 10% requirement. Instead Delancey submitted a Retail Assessment which said ‘The Proposals do not include 10% affordable retail for the reasons outlined later. This would be unviable and inappropriate given the intention to create a strong retail/leisure anchor at the heart of the town centre’ (4.63).

By Dec 2017 the affordable retail offer had inched up to the equivalent of 5.3%(para 88), including an in-lieu payment. The application was scheduled for a planning meeting on 18 Dec 2017, when Delancey, no doubt fearing a refusal, despite a recommendation to approve (para 1) asked for a deferral ‘to allow time for further negotiations in relation to the affordable retail proposal’ (para 2) . A fully policy compliant offer was not made until Jan 2018 – 15 months after the application was first made.

No relocation strategy

The relocation of shopping centre traders was even further down the list of Delancey’s priorities. A draft strategy, put together without any input from traders, appeared in August 2017, nearly a year after the planning application. The strategy did not include anywhere for the traders to move to during the building of the new development. This would have to wait another 5 months, until February 2018, when the Castle Square temporary facility for traders was proposed.The planning application for this wholly inadequate temporary space was made in June 2018, with approval in January 2019.

No social rented housing

Alongside this, similar delays plagued the affordable housing offer, which Delancey only slowly and reluctantly improved because of fierce campaigning opposition. It took Delancey over 2 years (Oct 2016 – Dec 2018) to progress from their initial offer to the final, approved proposal, while still falling short of the social rented housing requirement.

There was a complete absence of social rented housing, or quantities for any kind of affordable housing in the initial offer. Delancey would only say that 35% affordable housing would be between 15% and 80% market rent, with a‘blended percentage’ of 57% (Para 6.3). This turned out to include a only a meagre 33 ‘social rent equivalents’, out of 979 total units. This went up to 74 units in February 2018, with 95 London Living Rent units and 161 affordable rent at 80% market rent. Five months later, in June 2018, the social rent was increased to 116 units, (with the promise that they would be ‘proper’ social rent), but the London Living Rent was reduced to 53 units to compensate, with 161 units remaining at 80% market rent (income thresholds of £80,000-£90,000 pa). This was too much for Mayor Sadiq Kahn who insisted on a top threshold of £60,000 pa.

Three deferrals

Delancey’s foot-dragging caused the application to be deferred three times (18 Dec 2017, 16 Jan 2018, 30 Jan 2018), while the planning committee, under intense pressure from campaigners, wrestled improvements into Delancey’s scheme, until final approval on 3 July 2018.

This entailed 4 versions of an expanding officer’s report, which recapped the reasons for each successive delay and recounted the improvements wrenched from a reluctant Delancey. Each version recommended approval, on the basis that the deal offered, including affordable retail, trader relocation and the ‘maximum reasonable amount of affordable housing’ was the best that could be got, only for the next version to demonstrate that this was not the case.

Castle Square

The delays did not end with the planning committee approval. Planning approval was also needed for the Castle Square temporary facility, as a condition of the shopping centre development approval. While the proposal was made in February 2018, Delancey came forward with this application at the end of June and it went to committee on 7 Jan 2019. The final decision notice for the shopping centre application was then published on 10 Jan 2019, nearly a full year on and there hasn’t been any progress since then.

Castle Square showing no sign of works commencing on the temporary boxpark

Where the fault lies…

It might be argued that through this whole tortuous saga that Delancey ‘listening’ and responding to the community’s concerns. An alternative explanation is that it is a well-rehearsed developer tactic- offer as little as you can get away with, and then make only those improvements you are forced to concede. Delaying the delivery of the hard-one 116 social rented units for at least 9 years employs the same delaying tactic.

To sum up, we have little doubt that had Delancey presented the improved scheme that it presented to the planning committee on 3 July 2019 at the very first scheduled planning committee meeting, back on 18 December 2017, it would have been approved and any legal challenge long resolved. Delancey could then have saved the crocodile tears it is currently shedding on behalf of the traders. hi sweetie I am

Read in browser »
share on Twitter Like Delays and Delancey on Facebook

35% Campaign

image

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.

sc

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).

sc2

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.

sc3

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).

sc4

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.

sc5

Read in browser »

Shopping Centre Legal Challenge, CrowdJustice launch – Tuesday March 5th 2019

Dear Friend

CrowdJustice launch – TUES MARCH 5 2019

We are now very close to launching our CrowdJustice appeal for funds to quash the Elephant shopping centre planning approval.

We have had two great fundraising events, with the Distriandina Party and the Film Night.  We have now set a target of £5000 for our CrowdJusticecrowdfunding appeal.

CAN YOU MAKE A DONATION?

Can you get help us off to a flying start?  Can you make a donation on the first day of our appeal on TUES 5 MARCH 2019?

We then have only 30 days to reach our target of £5000. If we can raise a good chunk of this in the first couple of days it will encourage others to donate.

The donation can be any amount – all are welcome, big or small!

Delancey want to build nearly a thousand new homes, but only 116  will be social rented – and we will have to wait nearly ten years to get them. Delancey may even get away with providing no social rented housing at all.

We think this is wrong and that is why we are going to court to try to overturn the permission.  We want at least 42 more social rented homes and we know the Mayor has the money to pay for them.  We want a better deal for shopping centre traders – a bigger relocation fund and lower rents.

Our community deserves a development scheme that provides homes and shops that are truly affordable for local people, not one that short-changes us.

So please help us and DONATE  on TUES 5 MARCH 2019
Please share the our CrowdJustice link with your friends too!

You can find out more HERE

Castle Square – still not good enough

Dear Friend

Our Protest pays dividends!

While the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has agreed that Southwark Council can determine the Elephant shopping centre application, Delancey failed to getplanning approval for the related Castle Square temporary facility for traders.  This scheme must be approved before the main shopping centre scheme can go ahead.

Plannning sub-committee B  decided to defer the decision because it was, amongst other things, dissatisfied with the rent levels proposed for Castle Sq.

The decision to defer the application empowered Southwark’s Chief Planning Officer to refuse the main application- and we argue he should do so, without delay. Unfortunately he has sent a letter to Delancey reassuring them that he won’t be doing that. He’s trying to bounce Planning Sub Committee B into approving the Castle Square application.  See further details here.

Sign this petition calling on the Lead Member for Planning Johnson Situ to refuse the Elephant application now. 

Protest again- No to the Castle Square scheme- It’s still rubbish!

We demand that the Planning Committee listens to the community and refuses this application.

Protest at the Planning Committee- Stand Up for the Elephant AGAIN
Monday 7th January
6pm to 7pm
Southwark Council Officers
160 Tooley Street
SE1 2QH
FB Event and details here
Up the Elephant Twitter

Regards
Jerry

35% Campaign update – 11000 new council homes: figures show loss rather than gain

Nov 12, 2018 12:00 am

Southwark demolishing and selling off council homes faster than it’s building them –

In 2014, as part of its manifesto pledge Southwark Council’s administration announced an “ambitious but realistic plan to build 11,000 new council homes” across the borough over the next 30 years. Concerns were raised by us and in the local press that this would fail to make up for the thousands of council homes currently being lost to ongoing estate regeneration, void disposal policies and Right to Buy applications over the next 30 years.

Extract from an Oct 2014 article in the local newspaper

Council leader Peter John subsequently issued an open letter insisting that the 11,000 council homes would be over and above the existing stock count – i.e. a net increase:

Extract from Council leader Peter John’s open letter

Councillor John went one step further to pledge that the first 1500 net additional council homes would be finished by 2018:

Extract from 2014 Cabinet report

Four years on and we have taken a look at whether Councillor John has delivered on his manifesto pledge. Official statistics from the government’s live tables on local authority dwelling stock show that since the manifesto pledge in 2014 there has been a net reduction in Southwark’s council housing stock of 476 council homes.

Extract from the government’s Live Table 116

The figures aren’t saying that Southwark hasn’t built any new council homes, only that the rate at which is building has not kept up with the rate at which it is knocking them down and selling them off. The Council has or will demolish over 7,500 council homes as part of regeneration schemes, including 1200 council homes in the Heygate estate regenerationand circa 2400 on the Aylesbury estate.

In addition, it has sold 1300 council homes under the Right to Buy since 2012 and has an ongoing policy of selling every council home that becomes vacant which is valued at £300k or more.

Meanwhile, this 30th Oct 2018 Cabinet report confirms that the council has built just 262 council homes over 5 years (para 12).

The Cabinet report confirms that an additional 239 units of developer-built (S106) affordable housing have been bought by Southwark, to become council housing (para 17). One such example is Blackfriars Circus, where the Council has bought 56 homes for £10m from developer Barratt.

A problem with this method of buying council housing is that it does not actually increase the net supply of social housing – the same units would otherwise have been bought and let by a housing association anyway. Further, Southwark is denying itself the benefit of the S106 contribution, by paying for something a housing association would have paid for anyway – and, rather perversely, denying itself funds for building units that would actually increase the net supply.

It is also not clear whether all the new homes have been let at council rents. We have blogged previously about new ‘council homes’ now being let at a percentage of market rent (40%) rather than social rent (which is currently approx 20% of market rent).

In any event, 112 of these new ‘council homes’ are temporary accommodation units in hostels (Willow Walk – 75 units, Good Neighbours House – 37 units) and are let at LHA rent levels, which are more than twice current council rent levels.

Even if we do count all these new homes as council homes at council rents, the short and long term trend is clearly one of an ongoing decline rather than net increase in the number of council homes:

35% Campaign update – Elephant Shopping Centre – traders and campaigners step-up the fight

35 per cent

Oct 30, 2018 12:00 am

Campaigners mount legal challenge and object to insufficient temporary premises –

Elephant shopping Centre traders and local campaigners have taken the first step of a legal challenge to Southwark Council’s resolution to approve the shopping centre planning application, while also objecting to the small size of a proposed temporary facility for the traders’ relocation during the 5 years it would take to redevelop the centre.

eco1

The Public Interest Unit (PIU) of Lambeth Law Centre has written to Southwark, asking it to rescind the decision taken by the planning committee on 3 July 2018, or return the application to the committee. If the Council fails to do this an application will be made to the Planning Court to quash the decision.

The PIU is acting on behalf of a representative of the campaign groups Up the Elephant and Southwark Defend Council Housing. The campaign is supported by Southwark Law Centre and Latin Elephant. Barrister Sarah Sackman of Francis Taylor Building has agreed to represent the campaign.

The seven page pre-action letter gives two grounds for rescinding the permission. The first ground is that the planning committee was misled about public funding for the social housing in the scheme. The committee depended on an officer’s report in making its decision and this led it to believe that funding from the Greater London Authority (GLA), was secured for an increase of social rented housing, when this was not the case.

The second ground is that Southwark had not fulfilled its publIc sector equality duty (PSED) properly, neglecting the collective impact on the Latin American community across London, for whom the centre is a social and economic hub. Southwark had also not taken into account the impact on women business owners from black and ethnic minority backgrounds or on particular Latin American nationalities, such as Colombians, despite the detailed objections of Latin Elephant and Southwark Law Centre. The pre-action letter gives a deadline for reply of 24 Oct 2018 and this is still awaited.

eco13

The Mayor to respond

Aside from the legal challange, the Mayor Sadiq Khan will also be having his say, once the draft legal S106 agreement that would seal the planning approval is complete. Campaigners have written an open letter, asking him to reject the approval as it stands. Local ward councillors added their voice to the call, as did Assembly Member Sian Berry. Local Assembly Member Florence Eshalomi, on the question of traders, says “we cannot have these cultural communities being displaced.” Inside Housing reports that Sadiq Khan is keen to ensure that the development ‘delivers as much genuinely affordable housing as possible’.

A temporary new home for traders…

As well as contending with the consequences of any legal challenge or a call-in from the Mayor, developers Delancey must also provide a temporary facility for displaced independent traders, as a condition of planning approval for the shopping centre redevelopment.

Delancey have had to make another planning application to do this and propose a 2/3 storey building on the Castle Square market place, on their adjoining development Elephant One. Castle Square is on land owned by Southwark Council, but currently leased to Delancy on a peppercorn rent and a share of the revenue from the Square’s future street market. The shopping centre planning condition implies that Delancey will now be buying that land from Southwark.

eco14.jpg

The Castle Square facility would last for 5 years, until the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre development has been completed. Traders would then have the first right of refusal back into the shopping centre.

..but better is needed…

The facility is a valuable gain for the traders, won by their campaign for a fair deal. Latin Elephant and the Elephant Traders welcome the concession, but have also objected that the proposed building is too small and would have trading restrictions that would make it an impractical premises for many of the displaced businesses. Delancey’s proposals mention 33 independent traders, while the trader’s own estimate is that there is a need to provide for over 100 traders. There are also many other issues, including the level of rents and service charges, the security of tenacy arrangements, selection criteria and disability access.

Delancey have agreed to the establishment of a Traders Panel and traders want these issues, and the size of the relocation fund (currently at an insufficient £634,700) to be decided by the Panel, but trader representations on the remit and format of the Panel have gone unanswered, leaving them fearful about the make-up of the Panel and how it might deal with these issues.

Delancey is not there yet

Delancey only secured a resolution to approve their shopping centre application after three planning committee meetings. It must now get a further planning permission for the trader’s temporary facility on Castle Square, before they can undertake any shopping centre redevelopment.

We must ensure that the traders get the best possible deal, whatever happens; they need the temporary facility, but it must be better; if you would like to help achieve this, please submit an objection using our online web form.

Recent Articles:

Ruby Triangle
Grosvenor takes the biscuit factory
Delancey get what they want
Delancey’s subsidised profit\z