Update on lockdown changes in Southwark

Cllr Peter John OBE

Dear resident,

VE Day special plus new mental health support for young people

Cllr Peter John OBE

Dear resident,

Although it might not be what we had all planned for the 75th Anniversary of the end of World War II, there is definitely a feeling of excitement about VE Day tomorrow. Whether we have a sense that we are living through a similar time, or we just need to focus on something positive, I know lots of us are looking forward to the bank holiday and the low-key celebrations planned for the day. I hope you all have a lovely VE Day at home, and if you need some ideas have a look at our VE Day guide.

Looking after your mental health

Inevitably at a time like this, there are highs and lows, and not everyone will be feeling happy this weekend or in the weeks to come. Feeling low, stressed and anxious are common feelings, and during the COVID-19 pandemic you might find that you are finding things harder than usual. We want you to know that you are not alone and help is available.

Our webpages include helpful information from the NHS and others including:

I’m delighted that this week we also launched our brand new support service, called The Nest, for children and young people aged 13–25 in Southwark. It offers free and confidential mental wellbeing support. Social distancing requirements meant plans for our landmark children’s mental health hub quickly changed. This vital and timely new service has opened as an online and phone-line support service and the face-to-face support service, based in Peckham, will open when it is safe to do so.

Finally, if you, or someone you know, is in a mental health crisis, please contact SLAM’s 24-hour support line on 0800 731 2864 or find more advice on the SLAM NHS website.

I wish you all the very best and thank you again for your ongoing support.

Cllr Peter John


Highlights from our stay-at-home library

Involve the whole family in learning about VE Day

Explore online resources and activities to mark VE Day such as Adventures in History with the Imperial War Museum a weekly video series introducing real life wartime experiences like those of Kitty Baxter who spent nights in a communal bomb shelter in Camberwell with her family, or become an expert on local history with some fascinating reading material on WWII from the Local History Archive.

Join Baby Rhyme Time online

Sing along with your local librarians at the Libraries’ weekly Baby Rhyme Time sessions on Zoom.

Connect and create with Dragon Café

Join the weekly Zoom group for a new creative project each week plus the chance to share your thoughts, poems, recipes, stories or just the view from your window.

Live art workshops

Take inspiration from nature that you can see from your window, and learn new drawing techniques with live art workshops from Art in the Park.

Superarts online dance classes

Get moving with low-cost dance classes for the whole family, brought to your living room by Southwark based dance company Superarts.

Help us capture this moment in history!

Help us capture this moment in Southwark’s history for the archives. From records of mutual aid groups to personal diaries and photographs, please get in touch with our Local history Library and Archives service if you’d like to donate something: lhlibrary@southwark.gov.uk.


GPs are still available during the COVID-19 pandemic

Doctors in Southwark are reminding patients they should still contact their GP surgery if they need to consult a doctor or nurse about their usual health issues or new physical or mental health problems during this pandemic.


Are you worried about domestic abuse?

If you or someone you know is suffering from Domestic Abuse, isolation rules do not apply. Police response and support services remain available. Nationally, there is advice and support available but you should call 999 if you are in immediate danger. Locally, the Solace Advocacy and Support Service is also available to women and men in Southwark aged 16 or over in Southwark.


35% Campaign update – The harsh reality of relocation for shopping centre trader

The harsh reality of relocation for shopping centre traders

Apr 23, 2020 12:00 am

Law centre survey shows that nearly half of traders have nowhere to go -The Southwark Law Centre (SLC) has written to Southwark Council, detailing the shortcomings of the relocation of the independent traders from the Elephant & Castle shopping centre, prior to its demolition on 31 July 2020. The letter is supported by Latin Elephant and Up the Elephant, which includes the 35% Campaign.

SLC’s letter supplies Southwark with the details of a survey of traders about the relocation, conducted just before the Coronavirus lockdown. This ‘snapshot’ survey of ten traders shows that 4 had not been offered a relocation space and the remaining six were offered the spaces that were inadequate, mainly because they were too small, but also because they were in poor locations for attracting trade and had no space for storage or for displaying their goods.

The letter also criticises the traders’ appointed business advisor, Tree Shepherd, for a lack of appropriate support, particularly during the lockdown. The relocation fund is described as not fit for purpose and the relocation database of limited value. It regrets that Southwark approved using CPO powers on Delancey’s behalf without any increase to the Delancey relocation fund.

The letter also notes that work on completing Castle Square had stopped and asks how this will impact on the traders’ relocation. This is one of the four relocation sites and due to open in June – but work has stopped as a result of the coronavirus crisis:

The letter acknowledges that Southwark is not able to control the wider economic circumstances, but nonetheless calls on them to give stronger and more effective support to the traders.

Loyalty not repaid

All the trader respondents to SLC survey come from black and ethnic minority backgrounds, the longest serving trader having been at the Elephant for 22 years, while the longest serving trader not offered relocation space has been there 15 years; all ten traders together clock up over 115 years at the shopping centre.

In their survey comments all the respondents say the same thing – that more money is needed, and more space, and if the space cannot be found then compensation should be offered.

Relocation applications rejected

The SLC survey is a relatively small, but its finding that 4 out of 10 traders have no place to go is mirrored by the much larger and earlier research of Latin Elephant/petit elephant. This has tracked the fate of nearly a hundred businesses, since December 2018 and estimated that only 40 would be relocated, a prediction that now appears to be confirmed by Southwark Council in its own assessment of the relocation process. This states that while there have been 64 applications for three of the four main relocation sites, only 36 have been successful, with 28 rejected1. Southwark gives no explanation for this, or says anything about what exactly it expects these 28 businesses to do. The fourth site, Elephant Park, has had one successful application out of 52.

Public support for development falls

Southwark prefers to emphasise the increasing confidence traders are said to have, that they will be able to at least remain trading, by reference to an Equality Impact Assessment (EIA). This is cited as evidence that the so-called mitigation measures are working, despite the 28 rejected relocation applications. The EIA also reveals the embarrassing fact that public support for the shopping centre redevelopment from 67% in 2016 to 42% today, mainly because of concern ‘about what will happen to businesses currently in the shopping centre’. The proposed remedy is to continue the well-meaning, but now hardly appropriate ‘Follow The Herd’ publicity campaign.

Crisis response needed

As we reported in our last blogpost Southwark has approved a welcome £200,000 in support of traders, agreed before the Coronavirus lockdown. Separately, Southwark has also launched a Business Hardship Fund of £2m, aimed at all the borough’s 10,000 microbusinesses.

But otherwise Southwark’s latest report on the progress of the shopping centre redevelopment takes no account of the entirely new, desperate circumstances of the Coronavirus pandemic. This could be excused as it is dated 24 March, the first day of the lockdown, but was not considered until 7 April, two weeks after lockdown, without any amendment or addendum, that recognised the new trading situation.

The report also gives no figures for any amount of money actually paid out to traders, from any source.

Support traders, not Delancey

Southwark has done Delancey the huge favour of adopting CPO powers and leasing both the shopping centre and the LCC, to override residents legal rights. While Southwark claim that is at nearly nil cost to itself, it will be of considerable financial benefit to Delancey, who would not otherwise have been able to secure the necessary funding for their redevelopment scheme3.

Southwark did this without insisting that Delancey improve its own support for traders. The relocation fund remains the meagre £634,700, agreed nearly 2 years ago, at planning committee. Delancey also still insist on closing the centre on the 31 July, with some minor concessions and despite the SE1 survey that showed 72% of local people want the centre kept open.

Over the past 3 years and more the shopping centre traders have been fighting a hugely unequal battle to keep their businesses going, while the centre has been rundown and trade blighted. Now is the time for Southwark to start giving the level of support it has been giving Delancey. It must get cash to traders for their immediate survival. It must tell Delancey it will not be using its CPO powers on its behalf, until all the traders are either relocated or suitably compensated and that there must be no centre closure until this is done.

You can support us in our fight for fairness for traders, by sharing these hashtags;

#supporttradersnotdelancey #supportelephantnotdelancey #ElephantJR.

Footnotes:


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35% Campaign update – Shopping centre CPO – Southwark ploughs on regardless

Shopping centre CPO – Southwark ploughs on regardless

Apr 04, 2020 12:00 am

Southwark exercises CPO powers to clear E&C shopping centre site for Delancey -Southwark Council is set to assume Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) powers, on behalf of offshore developer Delancey, at its Cabinet meeting this Tues 7 April (postponed from 24 March). While this extraordinary move will strengthen Delancey’s hand in ongoing negotiations with various development stakeholders, such as TfL, and will relieve Delancey of funding risks, the scheme itself remains unchanged, delivering only 116 social rented units and displacing traders wholesale.

The Cabinet meeting is also set to approve a report that will override local residents’ legal rights, for the loss of light caused by the redevelopment. A third report will approve the recently announced £200,000 relocation assistance for traders.

The meeting will be by videoconference, but no livestream is advertised.

As we reported in our last blogpost Southwark intends to lease both the shopping centre and London College of Communications buildings themselves. Subleasing arrangements will return the shopping centre and LCC back to the control of Delancey and University of the Arts London, but as nominal public property, residents legal ‘right-to-light’ options can be overridden. Residents will no longer be able to seek an injunction against the development (while remaining able to claim compensation). Southwark say that there will be no cost to the Council from their leasing arrangements, other than officer time, but the report supplies no figures.

No guarantee that scheme will be built anyway

Southwark’s extraordinary measures illustrate its determined support for Delancey’s redevelopment of the shopping centre, despite the shortfall in social rented housing provided and the mass displacement of traders. Local charity and advocate for all traders Latin Elephant estimates that over half still have nowhere to go.

Southwark’s unwavering support extends as far as neglecting to obtain a guarantee from Delancey that the scheme will go ahead, even with the CPO powers being exercised on their behalf, saying ‘it is not necessary to impose… an obligation to build the Scheme as the measures negotiated for inclusion in the indemnity agreement give the Council comfort that EC is likely to proceed with the Scheme.’ 1

72% say keep the centre open

The proposed measures follow a survey conducted by the SE1 news website that shows 72% of local people want the centre kept open, in the light of the Coronavirus public health crisis. In response Delancey reiterated that they still intend to close the shopping centre on 31 July, while waiving rent and service charges (a long-standing traders’ demand) and promising to making pharmacy and food supplies available, beyond then, if the public health crisis continues.

What we say…

The Up the Elephant Campaign, supported by the 35% Campaign, has consistently opposed Delancey’s shopping centre redevelopment scheme, since its inception, over 3 years ago. We support the ongoing legal challenge to quash Delancey’s planning permission.

Over time various concessions, dragged out of Delancey by campaigners, have made marginal improvements to the redevelopment. Southwark’s pledge of £200,000 for the traders is also welcome; it now urgently needs to be distributed as cash grants to traders. Nonetheless, Delancey’s scheme still remains a bad one. Delancey are displacing an entire community of traders, and destroying a social hub for the many working people from all over the world who have made the Elephant their home. The new development will have a miserly 116 social rented homes, out of nearly a thousand new units (if they ever get delivered).

So, Southwark Council should not be bending over backwards helping Delancey, in any circumstances – certainly not now, when half the traders still have nowhere to go, while Southwark has an obligation to help secure traders accommodation in the new development it never properly exercised. We do not need to add that the traders’ desperate situation has been rendered dire by the Coronavirus crisis.

The UP THE ELEPHANT CAMPAIGN HAS THEREFORE MADE THE FOLLOWING DEMANDS TO SOUTHWARK COUNCIL;

You can support us in our fight for fairness for traders, by sharing these hashtags; #supporttradersnotdelancey #supportelephantnotdelancey #ElephantJR.

Or by lobbying the Councillors approving the decision directly: https://twitter.com/peterjohn6https://twitter.com/rebeccaluryhttps://twitter.com/evenor23https://twitter.com/Jasmine_Alihttps://twitter.com/steviecryanhttps://twitter.com/Livingstone_RJhttps://twitter.com/Victoria_Millshttps://twitter.com/Leo_Pollakhttps://twitter.com/kieronjwilliamshttps://twitter.com/JohnsonSitu.

  1. See para 76 Report: E&C CPO 

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Coronavirus latest – help prevent the spread

News of the spread of Coronavirus is naturally concerning, but thankfully to date there have only been a small number of cases confirmed across London.

However, there are things we can all do to help prevent the spread of this and other viruses so please remember that germs can live on some surfaces for hours. Make sure to protect yourself and others by always using a tissue and washing your hands thoroughly.

More information about Coronavirus and what to do if you feel unwell.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for UK employers

35% Campaign update – Shopping centre traders demand fair play

Jan 27, 2020 12:00 am

Elephant traders to send deputation to Southwark Council Assembly –

A deputation of shopping centre traders are due to attend Southwark Council’s Assembly meeting tomorrow, to demand fair treatment from developer Delancey and the Council. This follows Delancey’s announcement that it intends to close the centre on 30 July 2020. All the businesses in the centre, including the market traders, must move before then, but despite a relocation package about 60 traders still have nowhere to go, according to research by local charity Latin Elephant. Representatives from Latin Elephant and Southwark Law Centre will be joining the traders on the deputation.

The trader’s deputation will present seven demands to the Assembly, which is a meeting of all Southwark’s councillors. These are the traders’ demands;

  1. that the shopping centre is not closed until every independent trader is relocated or receives financial compensation. The independent traders have been at the heart of the Elephant and Castle for decades. The Elephant regeneration is trumpeted as a great benefit for the local community and local people; if this is to be true then all the independent traders must be fairly treated, with either new premises or compensation.
  2. that Delancey increases the relocation fund. This is currently £634,700 with traders having to demonstrate ‘hardship’ for Delancey to consider increasing the amount beyond this.
  3. that the rent and service charge costs of the relocation options are brought into line with each other. Of the four main relocation options the most expensive, Perronet House, is owned by Southwark Council. The others are owned by either Delancey (Castle Square, Elephant One) or fellow developer Lendlease (Elephant Park) and have lower rents and service charges.
  4. that the businesses in Arch 7 are fully included in the relocation strategy and can draw from the relocation fund. Railway arches 6 and 7, beneath the shopping centre, are due to be knocked through, displacing established businesses, but they do not qualify for relocation support.
  5. that the market traders around the centre are equally and fairly treated and that all traders get the benefit of rent reductions, until the shopping centre closes. Rent reductions made because of the disruption to trade have not been passed on to the market traders.
  6. that the independent business adviser, Tree Shepherd, applies the agreed criteria for the allocation of relocation spaces in a fair and transparent way. Longstanding traders have not been offered alternative premises or have been offered premises not suitable for their businesses.
  7. that the database of opportunities reflects what was agreed on the approval of planning permission. This database should give information about vacant premises within a mile of the centre and within Southwark, but many do not meet these criteria.

Support the traders – demonstrate!

There will 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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Tomorrow – shopping centre plan goes to court

Dear Friend

A reminder that developer Delancey’s destructive plans for the redevelopment of the Elephant shopping centre will be tested in court tomorrow.

Meet us for a solidarity breakfast of hot drinks and breakfast rolls from 7.30 am at Distriandina, Arch 6 Elephant Rd, just along from the Elephant overground station.

Our coach will stop to pick us up, then rolling round the corner to pick up people from the Metropolitan Tabernacle at 8am prompt.

To reserve a place on the coach please call or text 07792 786 192.

We will travel to the Royal Courts of Justice, the Strand, Holborn, London WC2A 2LL and have a demonstration of support at 9am. The case then starts at 10am. You can stay for as long as you wish – the case is open to the public.

Please join us and spread the word – Facebook event page here!

We want as many supporters as possible to come along, to show the strength of our campaign for more social housing and a better deal for traders and a better deal for the local community at the Elephant.

You can read more about our case here.
Hope to see you tomorrow!

Regards
Jerry

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