35% Campaign update – Elephant Park – homes dumped for offices

Elephant Park – homes dumped for offices

Jun 17, 2022 12:14 pm

Southwark Council is set to roll over to Lendlease yet again in its final bid to squeeze maximum profit out of the Heygate redevelopment. The developer’s latest and last Elephant Park application will increase the density of the scheme via the back door, using the sweetener of a new health facility that is was required to provide anyway.

One of the first tasks of Southwark’s new planning committee will be to consider developer Lendlease’s controversial planning application for a new office block on the final plot of Elephant Park, H1. Plot H1 stands on what was protected metropolitan open land, on the site of the demolished Heygate estate:

The H1 application, which includes a proposal for a health hub, is a dramatic change of direction by Lendlease. Up to now, Elephant Park has been built as a housing development, with some retail, and other uses; Lendlease’s original plan was for H1 to be much the same, with three residential blocks, one of 30-storeys, two of ten-storeys, comprising about 300 homes, across 36,100sqm of floorspace:

This proposal was part of Lendlease’s successful 2013 planning permission application. Now, in 2022, it turns out that Lendlease has shoehorned the housing planned for H1 into all the other plots already built or currently under construction, leaving it with a surplus plot. Instead of building additional housing on H1, which would require a fresh planning application and might open up a can of worms about affordable housing delivery, Lendlease says it wants to build an office block on the site, which would improve ’employment capacity’. A health hub, covering a tenth of the total floorspace, is also being offered, to sweeten the proposal – but only in place of providing affordable workspace.

Lendlease benefits from rule change 1

Southwark Council has reacted favourably to Lendlease’s proposal to provide offices on the surplus plot, with local councillors saying that they are ‘generally in support’ of the application, at a pre-election hustings.

More practically Southwark Council also changed the planning rules to give the application a fair wind. We reported last September how Southwark Council has smoothed Lendlease’s path by changing the local planning rules in the Southwark Plan, to allow a ten-fold increase in ’employment floorspace’ on Elephant Park.

Lendlease’s 2013 planning permission allowed only a maximum of 5,000sqm of business space across the whole Elephant Park site of thirteen plots. Lendlease’s new application proposes ten times that amount, 49,565sqm on a single plot. This would have had no hope of being approved without a change in the planning rules. Southwark Council duly obliged and approved an ‘uplifted’ amount of 60,000sqm, when the new Southwark Plan was adopted in February 2022.

More homes in a smaller space….

Lendlease has also been careful to build all the homes it promised under its 2013 permission. Lendlease say it has built almost to the maximum floorspace allowed by the permission, delivering 2,689 homes including 25.7% affordable housing.

But these 2,689 homes must obviously have been shoehorned into fewer plots, at a greater density than originally proposed, if Lendlease now finds itself with a spare plot that can be used for an office development. Should this application succeed it will also be the second time that the density of the development has been increased. In 2019 Lendlease took advantage of a poorly drafted s106 legal agreement, to increase the original maximum homes from 2,469 to 2,689 homes.

There is also a discrepancy between what Southwark has been told about the number of homes built and the figures Lendlease have given in their 2022 half-yearly report to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). Lendlease’s hy22 Lendlease Major Urban Projects report says that 3,208 homes will be delivered on Elephant Park (including Trafalgar Place’s 235 units), 284 more units than are in the planning documents and 739 more homes than originally consented:

…….fewer social rent

Lendlease remains silent on the shortfall of affordable housing, against the longstanding 35% affordable housing requirement, half of which should be social rented. Roughly calculated by unit this is a loss of about 270 affordable homes, half of which would be social rent.

The sweetener – the health hub

Lendlease appear to have won local councillors around to supporting their office block proposal by promising a health hub. Discussions about this have already taken place between Southwark Council, the NHS SE London Clinical Commissioning Group and Lendlease, and have also including GP services provider Nexus.

A health hub or facility would be very welcome and for that reason it has been a requirement for Lendlease to build it since 2013, under the current planning permission. Rather than get on and build it though, Lendlease has waited until the final plot and the final planning application to extract further gains, in the shape of an office block, several times the size of the health hub. It has had to make £1.08m health contributions along the way, but evidently considers this an acceptable cost.

Given that Lendlease were happy to build the health hub as part of a residential development before, there is no reason why it must be part of an office development now, other than it suits Lendlease. It is also not clear why councillors and Southwark think they are getting a good deal by supporting a health hub with offices, when there is already an agreement to build a health hub with homes.

Lendlease benefits from rule change 2

A further gain for Lendlease in building a health hub is that it would relieve it of the obligation of providing around 5,000sqm of affordable workspace. This has been enabled by another favourable change to the planning rules in the new Southwark Plan, to add to the change that allowed more office space. Up to August 2020 developers could provide affordable retail and affordable cultural uses instead of affordable workspace. Lendlease submitted its application in May 2021 and by the time of the final version of the Southwark Plan in February 2022 ‘public health services’ was added to the list of alternatives to affordable workspace.

So, with this addition, an obligation was turned into a choice between providing a health hub, at what we can assume will be a commercial rent, or affordable workspace at discounted rents.

Princess Street and Manor Place surgeries to go?

Southwark Council has joined with Lendlease and the NHS SE London Clinical Commissioning Group (SEL CCG) to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, supporting the provision of a health hub and an indicative plan of the hub has been drafted.

One point that leaps out of the Memorandum is that the hub is intended to replace the Princess St and Manor Place GP surgeries. It says that the hub would be a ‘health centre for GP….services….to serve the population at Elephant & Castle and the existing people served by the Princess St and Manor Place GP Surgeries.’

New state-of-the-art GP facilities would be a boon to everyone at the Elephant and in Walworth. But if these facilities entail the closure of two longstanding GP surgeries then that is something that should be made plain in the planning application and the public consultation about that application. This has not happened; the only consultation has been around the planning aspects of the application, which the Memorandum calls a ‘separate and independent process’.

A consultation is promised by the SEL CCG, but it looks as if this will not be until after the planning application is decided. This is too late; the fate of the surgeries will be effectively decided too, if the application is approved. Southwark Council and the NHS are the proper authorities to deal with our health care provision, Lendlease are not, but at the moment it is Lendlease who seem to be in the driving seat, with no reference to the people who depend on Princess St and Manor Place surgeries. This planning application should only be determined after the formal consultation promised by the SEL CCG.

What has been delivered on Elephant Park?

Southwark must also clarify and confirm just exactly what housing has been delivered on Elephant Park. The development we have now looks a lot different to that approved, back in 2013 – bigger, denser, with fewer homes for sale (many were converted to Build to Rent), and with an office block in the middle, if the H1 planning application succeeds. This is not what the 2013 planning committee agreed to.

A new Overview & Scrutiny committee has just begun drawing up its scrutiny arrangements and annual work programme; the committe should put an examination of the whole Heygate regeneration and what has been delivered on Elephant Park at the top of its agenda.

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Only one in ten new homes in Southwark is social rented

Apr 12, 2022 01:00 am

Hoardings publicising the Council’s delivery of 11,000 council homes are a familiar sight around Southwark. They promote the Council’s creditable council house building programme, which it launched in 2013 and describes as the ‘most ambitious…in the country’.

The impression Southwark wants to create is that building social housing is the Council’s top priority – as it should be in a borough where only 7% of households can afford free-market housing[^1].

The reality is different. Only one in ten new homes built in Southwark since 2004 is social rented. The figure has emerged from analysis of the London Mayor’s new Planning Datahub. The Datahub documents all the homes built in London since 2004, including those built in Southwark[^2]. The Datahub analysis shows that after losses are taken into account, only 2,711 out of twenty-five thousand new homes in Southwark are social rented[^3].

Eighteen years of low social rent, but high free-market numbers

The contrast between the small number of social rent and the large number of free-market homes built is stark, as our chart below shows. The Datahub figures show that nearly 70% of all new homes are free-market (nearly 18,000 in number) against just 10.7% social rent, with the rest made up of other affordable homes[^4].

Bar chart by 35% Campaign. Source: Planning London Datahub, Residential Completion Dashboard

Lost Heygate homes

The Datahub also shows that more social rented homes were lost in 2021 than were built. Only 31 were built, while 122 were demolished, with a net loss of 91 homes. Southwark claim this is a ‘discrepancy’ but the lost units can be identified through the Datahub as being from the demolished Heygate estate[^5].

The Datahub shows the loss clearly, in percentage terms, as minus 20.4% of the total housing delivered in 2021[^6].

Southwark misses the target

Southwark has claimed that it has more than met its target to build 2,500 council homes by 2022, a pledge it made in 2013.

But this target has in fact been missed. Only 2,208 social rented homes have been built in Southwark since 2013, and this includes any council housing built. This figure is calculated from Southwark’s own Housing Facts and Figures webpage Table 8. The Mayor’s Datahub shows that over the same period 1,136 social rent homes have been lost, mainly through estate demolitions, leaving a net gain of only 1,072 social rented homes[^7].

it should be noted that these figures are from all social rented housing in the borough. It is made up of social housing on private developments, as well as any council housing. The number of council homes built will therefore be a smaller number than the number of social rented homes.

The Council plays with the figures

Southwark is only able to claim that it has fulfilled its 2013 pledge to build 2,500 council homes by 2022, by using an elastic definition if what ‘build’ actually means. For Southwark, it means the homes do not have to be completed, just started, and can also include other homes brought back into use, according to this Southwark News article.

Southwark also apparently include in the definition of council housing homes gained from private developments, through planning requirements. If this is the case then there is no real gain in social rented housing numbers, because these would have been built anyway, and at private developer’s cost.

We need less free-market housing, more social rent

The need for social rented housing has continued to rise since Southwark made its 2013 pledge to build 11,000 council homes over thirty years. The pledge is a good one, but it will probably only maintain the 2013 number of homes, not increase it. Southwark also does itself no favours by exaggerating the progress it is making towards the 11,000 council homes target. The amount of council and social housing being built in the borough is a fraction of the amount of free-market housing and unless this changes and we start getting more social housing from private developers as well as council homes, then Southwark’s housing crisis will continue.

Footnotes:
[^1]: ‘CACI Paycheck data confirms that 93% of households in Southwark have a household income that requires social and intermediate housing’ – para 2, pg 108 Southwark Plan 2022

[^2]: The Planning London Datahub is a ‘collaborative project between all of the Planning Authorities in London’ including Southwark. It is part of the London Datastore and is a ‘new data base that includes data fed live from the boroughs…’. The Datahub’s Residential Completion Dashboard shows all housing completions for all the boroughs in London.

[^3]: 5,761 social rented homes were completed, 3,050 s/r homes were lost, leaving a 2,711 net gain for the eighteen financial years FY2004-FY2021. 25,286 homes of all tenures were completed in total, after losses are taken into account. From an analysis of the Residential Completion Dashboard, data filtered for Southwark.

[^4]: 17,651 free-market (69.81%), 2,711 social rent (10.72%), 339 affordable rent (1.34%), 3,572 intermediate (14.13%), 57 Discount Market Rent (0.23%), 956 Other (3.39%) – 25,286 units in total. Completed during the eighteen years FY2004-FY2021. Figures do not include non-conventional units and empty homes brought back into use. From an analysis of the Residential Completion Dashboard, data filtered for Southwark.

[^5]: 31 social rented homes were completed in Southwark in 2021, while 122 were demolished, all on Elephant Park Plots H2 and H3 (14/AP/3438/3439), leaving a net loss of 91 units. More social rented homes were lost than completed in FY 2004 (-140), FY2015 (-121), FY2016 (-166), FY2021 (-91). From an analysis of the Residential Completion Dashboard, data filtered for Southwark.

[^6]: The net gains/losses for FY2021 are 441 free-market units (98.7%), -91 social rent (-20.4%), 39 affordable rent (8.7%), intermediate 58 (13%). From an analysis of the Residential Completion Dashboard, data filtered for Southwark.

[^7]: Southwark’s Table 8 gives ‘Gross’ figures; the Datahub describes the same figures as ‘Gains’. The Datahub figures for FY2019 and FY2020 vary from Southwark’s, giving total Gains for FY2013 to FY2020 of 2,170, against Southwark’s figure of 2,208 for the same period. Datahub figures from an analysis of the Residential Completion Dashboard, data filtered for Southwark.

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35% Campaign

35% Campaign update – Elephant traders without new premises one year after shopping centre closes

Dec 06, 2021 12:00 am

Traders’ deputation seeks fair treatment from developers; urges Southwark Council to act

Independent traders displaced by the closure of the Elephant and Castle shopping centre are to send a deputation to Southwark Council’s Cabinet meeting tomorrow. The deputation will be urging the Council to do more to help them secure new premises, after being left homeless by the shopping centre closure.

This will be the traders second attempt to get a hearing from the Council, after its recent Assembly meeting refused to receive the deputation.

Many of the Elephant’s former traders have shops and cafes in Castle Square, in Elephant Rd and in the Elephant Arcade, after a three year campaign to secure new premises, but many others are still without trading spaces, including two of the Elephant and Castle’s longest standing businesses, Pricebusters DIY and La Bodequita restaurant.

Both Pricebusters and La Bodequita have been offered new premises on Elephant Park, but have been unable to reach agreement with developers Delancey and Lendlease about who will meet the relocation costs. Southwark Council has legal agreements with both developers covering traders’ relocation requirements and the deputation will be asking Southwark to enforce these agreements.

Traders ‘very disappointed’

The owner of Pricebusters, Rakesh Patel, said ‘We have been trading at the Elephant for 35 years, ever since the shopping centre opened. We were the biggest DIY shop in the area and sold things people cannot get anywhere else. We have had long negotiations with Delancey and Lendlease and have made some progress, but there is still a big gap between us. The costs of setting up new premises are astronomical and the amount we are being offered from the relocation fund set up to help us is simply not enough. Just lately Southwark councillors have joined the negotiations, but we still need much stronger support from the Council’.

The owner of La Bodequita, Diana Sach, said ‘I started La Bodequita in 2001, with my brothers and we worked hard to build up a successful family business. La Bodequita and other cafes and restaurants at the Elephant and Castle helped to introduce Colombian and Latin food to London and people came from all over the city to eat with us. We trusted Southwark Council and Delancey to help us with the relocation, but have been very disappointed. We have spent many thousands of pounds designing new premises and storing equipment, while we have had no premises. It is over a year since we left the shopping centre and we really need to re-open soon, but we just seem to be stuck’.

Successful businesses are being lost

Rakesh and Diana point out that Pricebusters and La Bodequita were both successful businesses, before they were forced to move.

Rakesh says ‘We did not want to move, but the decision was taken out of our hands and I am having to find a very great deal of my own money for the relocation. I was assured by Delancey and Southwark Council that there would be enough money in the relocation fund for us all, but so far this has not been the case’.

Diana says ‘La Bodequita is more than a restaurant. It is part of the Elephant and Castle and part of Latin American life in London. We want to stay here, as part of the new regeneration and are investing a lot to do this, but we need the help we were promised from Delancey and Southwark Council’.

‘No more Elephant as we knew it’

The traders’ deputation will also include Mathew Onuba, of the Look@Me stall. from the shopping centre’s old market. About a dozen displaced market traders have been in discussions with Southwark Council about setting up a small number of new pitches at the Elephant.

Mathew says ‘We have had intentions of opening up a business, but it’s been a struggle. There is no more Elephant and Castle as we knew it, there are no units, there is still no market, even after trying to make plans with the Council. Leaving a previous business and going to a new location is a hard process – it involves careful attention, publicity to attract new customers. None of this has been provided. We kept our goods with the promise that we would receive anew place but it never came. I’ve been paying for storage up until now, with the believe and hope I could continue my business….but I would like the support from the council to continue.’

Elephant Arcade struggles

A representative from the Elephant Arcade will also be on the deputation. They will be telling the Council of the difficulties of trading from their new premises, at the bottom of Perronet House, just opposite the Bakerloo line tube entrance.

Yousaf Dar, of Dar Bags, says ‘We were working at the shopping centre, my dad almost 15 years, me the last 10 years. Business was good. When the shopping centre closed, we asked them not to put us in Elephant Arcade, and still they placed us in there. They told us we would be opposite a Western Union, but when we arrived we were opposite another shop that was the same business as our own. After the pandemic, there were no customers, no business. We were struggling too much, we couldn’t even afford to pay rent, that’s why we decided to leave. Now we have been left at the side of the road, so we are not in a position to start another business, and have no access to relocation support. I don’t want to go on Universal Credit, I want to work at my business, but I may have to.’

Southwark must do more

The traders are being supported by Latin Elephant, which advocates on behalf of all traders, the Southwark Law Centre and the Up the Elephant campaign, which fought against the demolition of the shopping centre.

Natalia Perez of Latin Elephant said ‘A year on since the closure and demolition of the shopping centre in Elephant and Castle, Latin Elephant reiterates the demands for a proper scrutiny of the s106 legal agreements signed by developers, so that every trader that has been displaced is relocated; that the necessary funds are released by developers to cover moving and fit-out costs and not passed on as a burden to independent traders and that the much needed investment in the relocation sites are put in place for the benefit of the traders, as well as the local community’.

Harpreet Aujla of Southwark Law Centre said ‘Southwark Council have a big part to play in resolving the problems traders face moving from their old premises. They have legal agreements with both Delancey and Lendlease to make sure that the traders get the money that they need to relocate. So far, though, Southwark has just been happy to go along with whatever Delancey and Lendlease have offered. This is not good enough. Southwark must make that clear to Delancey and Lendlease, other these businesses will be lost to the Elephant’.

Jerry Flynn, of the Up the Elephant said ‘Traders are not looking for hand-outs or charity. They are looking for Southwark and the big developers to fulfill the promises that were made before the shopping centre was demolished. Southwark Council said that no-one would be left behind in the Elephant’s regeneration – now is the time to prove it’.

35% Campaign

35% Campaign update – Lendlease’s final plot for Elephant Park – offices, not homes


Sep 17, 2021 01:00 am

Southwark to change rules to allow office block on former Heygate estate.Southwark Council is set to change its planning rules to enable developer Lendlease to build an office block on the site of the former Heygate estate. The block would be on the final development plot of Elephant Park, Plot H1, which is earmarked for housing under Lendlease’s current planning consent. Lendlease has now applied to replace this consent with an entirely new one, to build an office block, not housing.Southwark is also ready to change the New Southwark Plan (NSP) to pave Lendlease’s way to a successful approval of the application. The change will allow an increase in the office floorspace on Elephant Park, from the maximum of 5,000 sqm that Lendlease is presently allowed, to the 49,565 sqm it is proposing in its new planning application. Southwark has said ‘an office development on this plot is broadly supported’ in the ‘Conclusion’ of pre-application discussions with Lendlease.Late changes to the New Southwark PlanThe change to the NSP, which governs all development throughout the borough, is part of a ‘main modification’ to the Plan. The modification MM7 would allow 60,000 sqm of ‘employment floorspace’ to be built specifically on Elephant Park; at the moment the local plan envisages a maximum of 30,000 sqm of ‘business floorspace’ for the whole Elephant and Castle Opportunity Area.The NSP, including the main modifications, is in the final stages of approval by government inspectors. Comments on all proposed modifications can be made up to a deadline of 24 September 2021.From open space to office spaceA good part of Plot H1 sits on land that was covenanted for use as open space, in perpetuity, when ownership was devolved to Southwark in 1985, on the abolition of the Greater London Council (GLC). In 2014 Southwark transferred ownership of the Heygate land, including Plot H1, to Lendlease, removing the covenant in the process.In 2019 Lendlease took advantage of a poorly drafted s106 legal agreement with Southwark to increase the maximum number of homes allowed on Elephant Park by 220 units, to 2,689. Lendlease is using ten plots of land for these homes, instead of the eleven available, leaving itself a spare plot. This is the justification for the new planning application – Lendlease claims that they have fulfilled their housing obligations under the current planning consent, so Plot H1 can be used for an office development, which would create jobs.Lendlease does not say in their new planning application how many homes could be built on Plot H1, if it were used for housing as originally intended, but by making a rough comparison with neighbouring plot H7, a capacity for about 340 homes can be calculated.Lendlease on manoeuvresLendlease’s Plot H1 planning application is the latest of a succession of self-advantageous manoeuvres. As well as increasing the number of homes on the estate and squeezing them into fewer plots, Lendlease has also announced that over 900 of the free-market homes would no longer be for sale, but kept under their ownership, and let to private renters, not sold. Before this, they marketed and sold substantial numbers of homes overseas . This all followed the notorious 2010 Heygate regeneration agreement, which reduced the affordable housing to 25%, from 35%, with a meagre 79 social rented units (later inching up to 100 units).Southwark Council is now poised to give up a prime housing site (in the middle of an opportunity area, on former council estate land) at Lendlease’s behest. Southwark is doing this while embroiled in controversies across the borough about infill development on council estate sites, none of which are anywhere near the size of the plot it is about to give up.Object!Lendlease’s argument that offices will good for employment is entirely self-serving. They did not make this proposal for Plot H1 in 2012, when applying for their first planning permission. Instead, they have tricked their way into a position where they have built more homes than originally consented, on a smaller space, and now want to squeeze in an extra office block for good measure.Southwark Council have aided Lendlease’s application by proposing a ten-fold increase in ‘employment space’ on Elephant Park, in the New Southwark Plan – a huge uplift, introduced to boost the chances of an office-space application being approved.There has been much speculation about whether Southwark’s recent change of leadership has resulted in a change of direction for the Council.This is the planning committee’s chance to prove that the Council won’t roll over to Lendlease indefinitely. The committee must stop this cynical attempt to manipulate planning policy to Lendlease’s advantage and reject this planning application.Once this is done, Southwark should start a sensible discussion on what is to be done with this prime site, with the focus on the local community’s real needs, including affordable housing, with all the amenities and open surroundings needed to make life liveable in London.470 comments and objections have been made to this application.If you would like to add your objection, you can do so here.You can use this model objection text or view our full letter of objection here.
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Recent Articles:Former Council leader glides through revolving doors
Legal battle for the Elephant and Castle shopping centre ends
Southwark rips up Aylesbury Area Action Plan
Action on Southwark’s empty homes
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35% Campaign

35% Campaign update – Former Council leader glides through revolving doors

   

Aug 11, 2021 01:00 am

Former Southwark Council leader Peter John OBE has joined the long list of councillors and ex-council staff now working for property developers. Cllr John led Southwark from 2010 to 2020, and was chair of London Councils from 2018 to 2020.

Cllr John was recently appointed Chairman of the Terrapin Group, a lobbying firm, whose client list is dominated by property developers and real-estate investors. Cllr John joins three other serving councillors, from different boroughs, as a Terrapin ‘practitioner’, but in the more senior chairman’s role.

Terrapin was founded by former Tory politician Peter Bingle in 2012 and has acquired a reputation for lobbying local government politicians to help developers get planning consents.

The Public Affairs Board Register shows Elephant & Castle developer Delancey is one of Terrapin’s oldest clients, having benefited from their consultancy services since 2013. The Elephant Park (formerly Heygate estate) developer Lendlease was also on Terrapin’s books for 4 years, from 2013 to 2017.

Other Terrapin clients with schemes in Southwark include Barratt Homes (from 2013 to 2017; Blackfriars Circus, Maple Quays, the Galleria, Redwood Park); Telford Homes (from 2019; Bermondsey Works), Hollybrook Homes Ltd (2018 – 2020; Eagle Wharf) and Bellway Homes (from 2013; Elmington estate regeneration, Phase 3).

The biggest developer in the Old Kent Rd Opportunity Area, Avanton Ltd, was also a Terrapin client from 2017 to 2019. Avanton is behind the approved Ruby Triangle development and the upcoming Gasworks and Carpetright schemes, which together will have over 2,100 homes. Ruby Triangle Properties Ltd was also on Terrapin’s books, from 2017 to 2019, as was its affordable housing partner A2 Dominion, for different periods.

Other developers with smaller schemes in Southwark, who are or have been registered with Terrapin include Higgins Homes plc (Cherry Garden School); Southern Grove, who are looking to develop two sites (the ‘Brooklyn’, near Rotherhithe tunnel, and the St James, Bermondsey) and Pocket Living (Varcoe Rd and Credon House).

Peter John’s relationship with Terrapin’s Peter Bingle spans most of the years of his leadership at Southwark. The Council’s Register of Interests shows a number of dinners paid for by Terrapin, Bingle himself or his previous company – the disgraced Bell Pottinger.

The announcement of Cllr John’s appointment as Terrapin chair gives us an opportunity to look back at some of the controversial schemes signed off during his 10 years as Council leader.

Heygate estate redevelopment

In July 2010, just months after taking the reins at Southwark, Peter John signed a development agreement with Lendlease for the demolition of the 1,200 homes of the Heygate estate and its replacement by a private development with only 25% affordable housing – 10% less than Southwark’s policy requirement – and with a minimum of social rented housing. In the event, Lendlease has built nearly 3,000 homes on the site, with just 100 at social rent.

It emerged that the deal involved a payment to the Council of just £50m for the 25 acre site – barely enough to cover the cost incurred by the Council in emptying the estate.

Later, in 2012 and 2014 Cllr John came under fire for accepting tickets to the London Olympics, paid for by Lendlease and for making a trip to Cannes, to attend the MIPIM developer jamboree.

Aylesbury estate redevelopment

In 2014, Peter John signed-off the sale of the 2,759 council homes and 60 acres of land of the Aylesbury estate for demolition and redevelopment to housing association Notting Hill Genesis. Whilst the deal required Notting Hill to provide 50% ‘affordable housing’ it failed to secure any of the 3,500 proposed new homes as council homes and would have entailed a net loss of social rented housing.

Delays and political pressure forced Southwark into a U-turn last year, when it agreed to pay Notting Hill £193m to convert 581 new homes in phase 1 of the scheme into council homes. Southwark has also now committed to no net loss of social rented housing.

Canada Water redevelopment

In 2018, Peter John signed off the sale of 15 hectares of council-owned land at Canada Water to developer British Land.

The deal secured 35% affordable housing, but this is below the 50% requirement for publicly-owned land, set by the Mayor in his London Plan 2021 (Policy H4A).

It is unknown what land receipts (if any) the Council will receive in return for its 15 hectares, because the development agreement with British Land has been heavily redacted.

Elephant & Castle shopping centre

Also in 2018, Cllr John took the unusual step of announcing his support for Delancey’s proposed redevelopment of the shopping centre despite it having been knocked-back by the planning committee earlier in the year. Amongst other things, the scheme, while exceeding density limits, didn’t meet minimum social rented housing requirements, or offer any relocation support to existing traders.

It was only after a concerted local campaign (leading to legal action) that Delancey improved its offer from 33 to 116 social rented homes and agreed to provide relocation units and financial support for some of the traders.

Southwark also boosted Delancey by adopting Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) powers to help clear the site of traders. This little-publicised power gives local authorities a great deal of legitimate leverage in its negotiations with developers; if a site is not empty, it cannot be developed. But rather than use the power to get a better deal for traders, it stood behind Delancey, whose own hand was strengthened at the traders’ expense.

Letting developers off the hook

Aside from the shopping centre, Delancey has also been involved in other schemes in the borough, including Elephant Central (formerly Elephant One), with 272 student rooms and 374 private residences and 185 Park Street (next to Tate Modern) with 69 new homes – neither development has any social rented housing.

These schemes are not exceptions. Our research shows that only 456 new homes, out of 11,863 units in 25 major developments, approved in Southwark from 2006 to 2016 were social rented tenure – 3.8%. Had these schemes to complied with minimum policy requirements then around 2,500 social rented homes would have been delivered in total.

What we say

Confidence in the planning system has been badly dented by high profile schemes not delivering the affordable housing we need. That confidence is not improved when the former leader of the council becomes the chair of a lobbying firm whose business is ‘influencing government’, including ‘public authorities’, such as councils.

The Terrapin Group boasts that it is a ‘market leader’ and has ‘a superb track record of helping our clients achieve successful planning consents right across Greater London’ and invites inquiries for ‘potential assignments’.

We cannot know for whether any of the developments featured above are examples of such successful ‘assignments’. More recent developments, such as along the Old Kent Rd, have at least 35% affordable housing, most social rented and so it looks as if the current administration may not be cut from quite the same cloth as the previous one. But more needs to be done; the bar has been stuck at 35% affordable housing for too long and should be raised to 50%. To help achieve this behind-the-scenes lobbying by developers must be ended. Southwark can take a lead on this by taking two immediate measures;

  1. No sitting councillor should also work for a public affairs company whose clients are property developers and investors. It is not enough that councillors do not engage in such work within their own borough, as required by the Public Affairs Code. They should not be trying to persuade fellow councillors in other boroughs to approve schemes either. Planning decisions must be seen to made solely on the merits of the application, with all discussions open to public view.
  2. A local register of public affairs companies for the borough should be established. Every applicant for at least major schemes should be required to list their agents, including public affairs companies.

These measures would not only help maintain the integrity of the planning system, but might also avoid this kind of damaging headline:

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Legal battle for the Elephant and Castle shopping centre ends

Jun 12, 2021 09:54 am

Final decision goes Delancey’s way

The Appeal Court has upheld the High Court decision allowing developers Delancey to proceed with the demolition and redevelopment of the Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre, after it found that there were no grounds for reversing the High Court’s decision.

The legal challenge was mounted as part of a hard-fought 4-year campaign by Up the Elephant. This brought together housing campaigners (including the 35% Campaign), students, tenants’ groups, local councillors and trade unionists, in the fight for more social rented housing and a better deal for traders displaced by the proposed development.

The decision will now allow the mixed-use development of new shops and homes to proceed, with 116 social rented units, out of 979 ‘Build to Rent’ homes.

Despite the legal outcome the Up the Elephant Campaign secured many improvements to the original proposals, compared to the baseline of the original application, made in October 2016.

  • Increase of social rented housing from 33 units of ‘social rent equivalent’, owned and managed by the developer, to 116 proper social rented units, owned and managed by the Council or housing association
  • Provision of affordable retail space
  • An established traders’ panel
  • Temporary traders’ premises on Castle Square
  • Trader relocation to Elephant Arcade (Perronet House)
  • Trader relocation and assistance funds of £634,000 and £200,000
  • 15-year affordable retail lease

What we have lost

Despite these improvements Delancey’s scheme still remained a bad one, hence the legal challenge. The shopping centre may have been shabby, but it housed one of the largest bingo halls in Britain, much used by older people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds, with a bowling alley next door, equally popular with younger people.

It had over decades become one of two social hubs for Latin Americans living in London (along with Wards Corner, in Seven Sisters). Most of the other independent traders come from other parts of the world and had built businesses for themselves and their families. All this would be lost. And while the affordable housing ‘offer’ was improved it still did not meet Southwark’s minimum policy requirements, falling short by over fifty homes for social rent.

The GLA grant mystery

The status of a purported £11.24m grant from the Mayor, that allowed Delancey to improve the social rented housing offer from 74 to 116 units and how this was reported to the planning committee was a key question before the court. The planning committee was told variously that the grant was ‘an agreement in principle for grant funding’ (Officer’s report Adden. para 11), or ‘recently confirmed’ (OR 371), when in fact it was neither. There was no grant and no application had been made. Delancey had only been advised by the Greater London Authority (GLA) that an application would be welcome (Appeal Judgement para 87) and of the steps that they needed to take to make an application.

On this point, the appeal court ruled that while there had been an ‘overstatement’ (AJ 87) of the position, all-in-all the committee had not been misled, particularly as Delancey had committed to building the social rented housing, with or without grant (AJ 85,86).

This commitment naturally led the legal challenge to argue that if Delancey could provide 116 social rented units without grant, they should be able to provide more with a grant. Again, the appeal court did not agree, citing the viability assessment, which stated that 116 units was ‘the maximum reasonable amount’ of social rented housing, and accepting that Delancey was committed to building the social rented housing at their own risk, even if grant were not available (AJ 91).

‘The land and sum of money’

The appeal court also found that the officer’s report and two addenda were only guidance and allowed council officers discretion in how the committee’s decision was practically put into effect (AJ 49, 50). This ruling had important consequences. One of the main grounds of the legal challenge was that a stipulation that would allow Southwark, not Delancey, to build the social rented housing, but without cost to itself, had not properly found its way into the legal agreement that sealed the planning permission.

To this end, the officer’s report had said that ‘The s106 agreement would therefore stipulate that if the development on the west site has not substantially commenced within 10 years of the east site commencing, the land and sum of money sufficient for construction and completion of the social rented units would be transferred to the council, to deliver the social rented units’. (OR 364)

What actually appeared in the s106 agreement was a more complicated arrangement of three options, two of which require Southwark to find up-front costs of construction. Delancey argued that the land value and non-residential elements of the social rented housing block had to be taken into account in this transaction and that this arrangement was therefore perfectly correct. Surprisingly, given that it was putting itself in a position of finding money to build something that Delancey would otherwise have to pay for, Southwark agreed with Delancey. The judge agreed with both, against the campaign’s arguments, ruling that this was a fair rendering of the committee’s decision (AJ 57-60).

Social rent and social rent equivalent – different, but the same

The legal challenge also took issue with Southwark and Delancey effectively treating ‘social rent equivalent’ and ‘social rent’ as being the same tenure.

This distinction becomes relevant if part of the development were to be switched from ‘Build to Rent’ to ‘Build to Sell’, with a higher affordable housing requirement and higher profit leading to an uplift to the social rented housing numbers. Delancey argued that any such uplift would have to be housed in towers that were managed by the affordable housing provider, who could not cope with real social rented housing, for stock-management reasons, and so the uplift would have to be social rent equivalent.

Despite the campaign offering three sets of differences between the tenures – including differences of security of tenure (3 years assured short-hold for social rent equivalent against lifetime tenancies for social rent) and differences in regulatory oversight – the appeal court judges these differences to be ‘nuanced’ rather than ‘material’ (AJ 77-79).

The implications of the judgement

While the Court of Appeal’s decision is disappointing, and the end of the legal challenge against the redevelopment of the shopping centre, we are not disheartened. The Up the Elephant campaign took up the fight in defence of council policy for a minimum amount of social housing, about 170 units, when Southwark Council refused to do so. The campaign did not succeed in getting 170 units, but it did raise the number from 33 social rent equivalent, to 74, then 116 social rent. Other gains have been made along the way, as noted at the beginning of this blogpost.

But though the local community and the Up the Elephant campaign won 116 social rented units, Southwark’s track record of repeatedly conceding ground to Delancey shows that it is more than capable of losing them.

It was not enough for Southwark to allow Delancey almost 10 years to build the social rented housing; Southwark then allowed Delancey the option of passing the task back to them, without adequately securing the resources to do the job. Southwark then went to court, not to make sure that they got the social rented housing, but to defend this lopsided arrangement, and back Delancey up, when it argued that this was all fair and proper.

The appeal court’s endorsement of Delancey and Southwark’s interpretation of ‘land and a sum of money’ (AJ 58, 59) now opens the door, under one option, to Southwark getting nothing more than the land and £1 (one pound). A second option will get Southwark money to build the social rent, but not the full construction costs. Both options would leave Southwark having to find upfront the construction costs. And, despite the appeal court’s judgement, we don’t believe that this is what the planning committee had in mind when it approved Delancey’s scheme.

Southwark should also demand to know when Delancey are going to make the application for the £11.24m that back in 2016 was claimed to be both agreed in principal and confirmed, but in reality, in 2021, does not seem to exist. As at June 2021, Delancey had not completed the registration of its affordable housing provider T3 Residential Limited with the Regulator of Social Housing, that the GLA advised was a condition of a successful grant application. As a recent Sunday Times exposé has shown, Delancey are well versed in how to use the public purse to its own advantage, when it comes to affordable housing. It is not difficult to envisage a scenario where it does so again, at Southwark’s expense.

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35% Campaign update – Southwark rips up Aylesbury Area Action Plan

Latest blog update on regeneration in Southwark.
 

Southwark rips up Aylesbury Area Action Plan

May 09, 2021 10:05 am

Without consultation, Southwark Council has decided to scrap the 182-page planning document which sets the parameters for its redevelopment of the Aylesbury estate. The so-called Aylesbury Area Action Plan (AAAP) will instead be replaced by a 2-page ‘Area Vision and 5-page ‘site allocation’, as part of the New Southwark Plan.

The decision was revealed in a late background paper for the Examination in Public of the New Southwark Plan (NSP). Described by the government Inspector at the Examination in Public (EIP) as a ‘raft of policies’, the AAAP incorporated 29 policy documents, covering all aspects of the redevelopment, including housing, design, open space and the phasing of the development. It was adopted as the effective rule-book for the redevelopment of the estate in 2010, after four years of extensive public consultation, including its own separate public examination.

Image of front cover of AAAP

The implications of this are significant; while Southwark claim that all the relevant policies in the AAAP will be taken into account by the NSP, so that such things as more generous space standards, more family housing and car-parking for residents are retained, the lack of any prior notice or consultation has raised strong fears that much that was beneficial in the AAAP will not be carried across into the New Southwark Plan.

Zero Carbon Growth

Amongst the policies supporting the AAAP, policy at 3.6.1 requires the scheme to result in ‘zero carbon growth’:

“The development will be designed to result in zero carbon growth, that is, no net growth in carbon dioxide emissions despite an increase in the number of dwellings. This will require buildings which are highly energy efficient.”

While the NSP requires developers to take measures towards achieving carbon neutrality, and has targets for major developments (Policy P69), the very specific requirement that the Aylesbury achieves zero carbon growth will be lost.

Experience has shown that unless such a requirement is exact and explicit, as it is for the Aylesbury, it can be lost when complicated, large schemes are considered for planning approval and the decision is made by balancing out how well the development meets all planning requirements, not just the environmental ones.

Open Space

Policy at 4.5.1 of the AAAP requires that the Aylesbury redevelopment results in no net loss of open space. Again, while the NSP has the strategic target for the borough, to retain and protect all open space, it makes no specific reference to open space requirements for the redeveloped Aylesbury.

This is a particular concern, given Southwark’s welcome new commitment to re-provide all the social housing on the new development, which could put space at a premium. The NSP also allows payments in lieu of providing open space, a get-out that is often used by developers who want to build to maximum density.

Children’s Play/Youth Space

Paragraph 4.5.2 of the AAAP says: “We will require children’s play areas to be integrated into the residential areas. About 3 hectares of children’s play space and youth space will be provided”.

The proposed New Southwark Plan makes no requirement to replace any of the children’s play and youth space.

Campaigners and residents giving evidence at the EIP also pointed out that there were three separate policies for play space and open space in the AAAP (PL5, PL6, PL7), and that they provided space well beyond that which was standard. This generous allocation of space in the AAAP reflects the estate’s design, around an extensive network of children’s and youth play spaces. Campaigners noted that this was part of the family orientation of the AAAP, and that these policies would need equal prominence in the NSP, to make sure that families remained a priority in the redevelopment.

Replacement Social Housing

In March 2019, Southwark announced in a Cabinet report an ‘important shift’ in its plans for the Aylesbury, with the ‘ambition… to see the replacement of the number of social rented homes on the footprint of the estate’. The density and number of homes on Phase 2 was therefore increased, with 400 extra units, up to about 1,250 homes in total.

The New Southwark Plan follows through on this, now saying that “it would now be appropriate to consider an increased number of homes within the land covered by the Action Area Core, replacing all the existing social homes within the footprint of the estate”.

But only 148 social rented units have been delivered so far, with a further 581 council houses under construction on the First Development Site. These leaves about 1,500 social rented units to be built, which is about half of the total remaining development, if Southwark is to replace the Aylesbury’s social rented housing (see Table 14 here).

Meantime, Notting Hill Genesis remain in possession of a planning permission that allows for a loss of social rented units, which points to either further increases in density or a deal with Notting Hill Genesis, as was done for the First Development Site, or some combination of the two.

End of service life?

The NSP described the Aylesbury estate as “characterised by large concrete slab buildings built in the mid-1960s –70s, now at the end of their service life.”

This drew criticism from residents, leading to a change of wording. Further objections during the EIP hearing, argued that the Council had submitted no evidence supporting the claim that the estate was at the end of its service life and had failed to investigate whether refurbishment could be a more viable and sustainable option. This was contrasted to Southwark’s decision to bail out Notting Hill Genesis housing, at a cost of over £200m, after the housing association failed to deliver the First Development site, evidently hit with financial viability problems.

Successful examples of the refurbishment of estates built using the same system as the Aylesbury and which might usefully be examined, can be found on the Six Acres estate in Islington and the Doddington estate in Battersea.

Long delayed delivery

Residents at the EIP also argued that the loss of the AAAP would allow Southwark to gloss over delays to the redevelopment. Southwark insisted that the monitoring provisions of the AAAP would be retained, but in any event the dismally slow pace of progress cannot be disguised.

While various community facilities have been completed, the house building programme has fallen many years behind schedule. Over 2,500 new homes should have been built by now, according to the AAAP’s timetable (Table A7.1), at an average rate of 221 homes per year; in fact, only 408 have been completed, giving a rate on only 40 homes per year.

These figures also take no account of the homes lost through demolition. When this is factored in, the situation is even worse. Southwark will have to build 2,750 homes just to get back to where we were, before demolition began. Southwark claim that this will be done by 2027/28 (see para 31 here), but they then must build 1,500 more homes to reach 4,200 homes and this will not be achieved until 2035 (Appendix 2: Sites Methodology Report pg 60 April 2021).

Campaigners cast some doubt on whether this large net gain in housing will ever be achieved, without which the huge displacement and disruption of the whole regeneration can barely be justified. The additional pressure on the housing waiting list of rehousing displaced tenants was also noted.

The time has come for a rethink….

The Aylesbury Area Action Plan (AAAP) was adopted 10 years ago and was supposed to govern the 25-year redevelopment of the estate. Action Plans are special planning policy documents for big, extensive redevelopments. They require a high level of consultation and the involvement of affected residents.

The Aylesbury AAP is a complex document, with a large evidence base and was only finalised after its own Examination in Public. There may now be good reasons to update it, not least because it comes into conflict with more recent planning policy documents.

But it cannot be right that it is simply discarded, at short notice, half way through the estate’s redevelopment, without first carrying out a proper public consultation. Southwark’s reassurances, given in the EIP, that all the key policies will be carried over to the New Southwark Plan are not good enough, particularly given the sorry history of the estate’s regeneration so far

Any proper consultation must also take into account the slow progress of the redevelopment to date and the urgent need to address the climate emergency. It should also assess the impact of the redevelopment on the residents, the majority of whom are from black and ethnic minority backgrounds, and what benefits, or otherwise, will fall to them – a point forcefully made by long-term residents, past and present, in the EIP.


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Action on Southwark’s empty homes

Apr 11, 2021 12:00 am

Day of action to highlight borough’s estimated 2,300 empty homes –

Manor Place Depot photoshoot

Manor Place Depot will be one of one of the next sites for a nationwide Day of Action on Empty Homes on Sat 17 April 2021. When we last looked (10 April 2021) at least 14 homes stood empty on a single street within that development. There will a Photoshoot and livestream 11am to 11:30am – click here to find out more and join event.

The Depot is a Notting Hill Genesis development, on the site of the Manor Place Baths, one of Southwark’s most characterful development sites. The baths provided laundry and bathing facilities to Walworth people for 80 years, until the demolition of the surrounding streets and the removal of the local population to the Heygate and Aylesbury estates sounded its death knell in the 1980’s.

Manor Place Depot is also a symbol of much that is wrong with ‘regeneration’ – public land sold off cheaply, for an expensive housing development (starting price £557,500 rising to £882,500) with only a small fraction social rented housing. Only 44 of the 270 units are social rented and most of this was only provided only after Notting Hill Housing, as it then was, was caught out failing to provide the right amount of social rent on another development.

Southwark–London’s empty homes hotspot

Action on Empty Homes has identified Southwark as London’s empty homes hotspot, with a 61% rise in the number of long-term empty homes – up from 1,469 to 2,358 in the year up to October 2020topping the league for London boroughs. And most concentrated empty home areas are in the north east quarter of the borough, the site of three of Southwark’s opportunity areas. The fourth, at Canada Water, has its own concentrations of empty homes.

Number of second homes and Airbnb’s explode

As well as empty homes, Southwark has seen a massive increase in second homes – 3,630 in 2020, nearly six times the number of the previous year. But this could be matched, if not outstripped, by the number of Airbnb whole home rentals, which stood at 2,635 in November 2019. Unsurprisingly these are also concentrated in the north east quarter of the borough, another consequence of regenerations that produce overpriced housing that make for better investment opportunities than homes for local people.

 Lights out on the redeveloped Heygate estate.

More empty homes than households in temporary accommodation

This is all at a time when Southwark has 14,000 households on its housing waiting list, 3,000 in temporary accommodation and plans to increase the already large number housed outside the borough.

So, when we have more empty homes than households in temporary accommodation, ACTION ON EMPTY HOMES is vital.

We must fight for a borough and a city where ordinary people can afford to live; filling empty homes won’t solve the housing crisis, but it must be part of that solution.

#RequisitionEmptyHomes #FillEmptyCouncilHomes #PrettyVacant
#EmptyHomes
#Fillemup
#HomesNeedResidents
#TheWrongHousing


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Appeal against Elephant Shopping Centre development tomorrow

Mar 15, 2021 12:00 am

Challenge against High Court on 16 and 17 March. –

Campaigners to hold Rally in support

The long-awaited Court of Appeal hearing against the High Court decision to uphold the planning approval for the demolition and redevelopment of the Elephant and Castle shopping centre will be held on the 16 and 17 March 2021. The hearing will be online. Permission to mount the appeal was granted to Jerry Flynn, of the 35% Campaign, who is supported by local campaigners Up the Elephant. David Wolf QC of Matrix Chambers, Sarah Sackman of Francis Taylor Building and Paul Heron of the Public Interest Law Centre represent Mr Flynn.

The planning approval was granted by Southwark Council in January 2019 to shopping centre owner and developer Delancey and the appeal follows an unsuccessful High Court challenge, when Mr Justice Dove refused to quash the planning approval, after a two-day hearing in October 2019.

While the demolition of the shopping centre has begun, the legal challenge has focused on the shortage of social rented housing in the proposed development. Delancey has increased the amount of real social rented homes from zero to 116 units under the pressure of a 3-year campaign by Up the Elephant, but it is still only a fraction of the nearly one thousand in the new development. The social housing could also be at risk, if Delancey doesn’t deliver on the “West site”, not due to be built for nearly another decade.

Campaigners also believe Southwark’s Council’s planning committee was misled as to the maximum amount of affordable housing the scheme could viably provide and that there could be at least another 42 social rented homes, with help of Mayor of London funding.

Over £8000 has been raised to support the legal challenge through a CrowdJustice appeal and the Up the Elephant campaign continues the struggle for a better deal for the many traders who have not been properly relocated.

The online rally, supporting the legal case, will be held on the morning of the appeal and will hear from Mr Flynn, traders, lawyers and trade unionists.

The Elephant and Castle shopping centre appeal rally

Homes for People, Not for profit!

9:30am, Tuesday 16th March

Join the Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84686776386

Meeting ID: 846 8677 6386

The rally can also be seen on YouTube and Facebook.

Jerry Flynn of the Up the Elephant campaign has said;

“Delancey may have already begun the demolition, but the battle for what is to be built is not over. Southwark is not getting as much social rented housing from Delancey as it should, while the need for it has become even more acute. Delancey are not building the homes and new shops that local people need. Their planning permission should be quashed and homes and shops that local people can afford built instead.”

Paul Heron, solicitor from the Public Interest Law Centre, who is representing the campaign, adds:

“We are happy that the matter will now be considered by the Court of Appeal. The case raises a number of important legal issues regarding how local councils should handle these developments. One concern is that Southwark council, and many councils like them, are failing to maximise social housing in these developments. Another concern is that councillors are failing in their duties – far too much power is being given to unelected council officials in the decision-making process. This has to stop otherwise there will be a democratic deficit in planning law”.

Tanya Murat, of Southwark Defend Council Housing, supporters of the campaign, said:

“Southwark Council should now listen to the views of its own residents instead of throwing yet more money on lawyers to prop up the mega profits of its friends in the development industry. This development wouldn’t have gone ahead without the Council’s active support. Councillors should put the needs of homeless and low paid residents above the needs of developers.”


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35% Campaign update – Social Rent or Affordable Rent?

Social Rent or Affordable Rent?

Jan 16, 2021 12:00 am

Five years on from Ombudsman’s report the question mark remains. -Five years ago today, Southwark Council rejected our complaint that affordable homes secured from private developments weren’t in fact being delivered, Southwark’s Director of Planning saying ‘Southwark Council has appropriate safeguards in place and has not failed in its duties .. therefore your compliant is not upheld”.

We made the complaint after discovering that Neo Bankside, a high-profile development next to the Tate Gallery, had only delivered 62 of the 94 social rented homes required by the planning approval. The story was taken up by the Guardian.

 Guardian article including our findings at the Neo-Bankside development

We were later contacted by a resident living at the Signal building, a new development at Elephant & Castle, who was confused about an affordable housing tenant pack put through his letterbox. He was concerned that a similar trick had been pulled by the developer of his building, as he was paying market rent for his flat. He asked if we knew how to find out if his flat was supposed to be one of the 11 affordable homes in the building and what implications that would have.

We told him that we had no way of knowing whether his home was one of the 11 affordable units and advised him to contact the Council.

 The Signal Building at Elephant & Castle where affordable homes were let at market rent and then sold on the open market

It later emerged that the housing association concerned had sold these and other affordable homes across the borough on the open market, resulting in a court case, brought by Southwark Council.

 https://www.insidehousing.co.uk/insight/insight/the-court-battles-over-section-106-delivery–56141

Given these examples of where there appeared to be no control over affordable housing delivery, we checked the Council’s choice-based letting system for social housing and found homes approved as social rent being let at more than twice social rent levels.

 Extract from the Council’s lettings system for households on its waiting list

We then cross-checked planning committee reports with section 106 agreements, Land Registry information, the GLA affordable housing outturn dataset and the government’s CORE lettings data. From this we compiled a long (but by no means exhaustive) list of 46 schemes which indicated that there had been a potential breach in provision, involving a total of 1,145 social rented homes. We submitted these to the Council as evidence that it was not getting the affordable housing it should be and asked them to investigate.

The Ombudsman

When Southwark rejected our complaint we referred the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman and in November 2016 he published a damning report stating that Southwark actually have no proper procedures for monitoring the delivery of affordable housing. In response Southwark undertook to introduce monitoring procedures and conduct an audit of all the section 106 affordable housing in the borough.

In late 2019, after three years of badgering, the Council finally published a spreadsheet, which it claimed to be an audit.

But the audit is in fact only a list of developments, detailing affordable housing required according to the s106 agreement. A necessary link to what was actually delivered is absent and any breaches cannot be identified from it. It is therefore impossible to tell from the audit if the affordable housing has been delivered according to the planning consent.

In addition, the audit shows that in over two thirds of the developments, the Council still doesn’t have confirmation of the affordable housing provided and nearly one thousand homes have ‘Not Known’ tenure, out of nearly 7,000 affordable homes listed.

In many cases where the housing association has responded confirming the tenure and number of homes provided, they clearly don’t match with the requirements of the planning consent.

For example, phase 1 of the Aylesbury estate (07/CO/0046) is listed as being let at affordable rent (i.e. up to 80% market rent) but the s106 agreement for this scheme requires social rent.

Similarly phase 1 of the Canada Water regeneration (09/AP/1870) required at least 123 homes at social rent. The audit shows these all at being provided at affordable rent.

Also, the 553-home Tabard Square scheme (02/AP/0168) was approved with a requirement for at least 79 social rented units. These are being listed as having been provided by Horizon Housing Association as affordable rent.

Show us the 5,462 social rented homes

The audit clearly hasn’t been conducted effectively. It remains impossible to know with certainty how much affordable housing has been delivered or whether it has been delivered under the tenure required by the section 106 agreement.

Southwark’s Housing Engagement and Scrutiny Commission considered affordable housing delivery at its last meeting at the beginning of December and we have sent the Commission a detailed account of the gaps and flaws in the audit. We have told the Commission that five years on, Southwark still has not properly fulfilled the requirements of the Ombudsman’s decision.

As we have pursued this issue, Southwark’s response has been that it is in the process of developing new software to deal with monitoring. But after 5 years of development this software is still not operational.

Southwark Council has lately been emphasising the number of affordable and the number of social rented homes that they have succeeded in securing from developers at the planning stage, but this is obviously a hollow claim if the homes are not built and or are then let at a higher rent tenure. Until a proper audit is conducted (plus an investigation of any apparent infractions) Southwark’s claim to have delivered 5,462 social rented homes, in particular, can only be met with scepticism.

Southwark Council is now under new leadership – solving this issue head-on, instead of just muddling along and sweeping it under the carpet will be a test of whether it will be any better than the old leadership.

 Southwark’s website claims it has delivered 5,462 social rented homes

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35% Campaign update – The Elephant traders who face the end without new homes

Latest blog update on regeneration in Southwark
The Elephant traders who face the end without new homes
Sep 22, 2020 12:00 am

Only 40 traders ‘found new premises’ as centre closure looms -Shopping centre developer Delancey and Southwark Council have mounted a desperate defence of their failed trader’ relocation strategy, with a joint statement claiming that all qualifying businesses have been relocated or offered relocation options ‘without question’. The centre is due to close on Thursday.
The very same joint statement reveals, however, that only 40 traders have actually been found new premises through the relocation process, a fraction of the approximately 130 independent businesses identified in January 2018 by Southwark, as operating at the Elephant 1. Much of the rest of the joint statement is a lengthy account of how this much larger figure has been was reduced to just forty traders through the relocation process. The statement also outlines ‘options’ available to the unfortunate traders who have nowhere to go and makes self-justifying excuses for this miserable outcome.

The joint statement also attacks what it calls ‘uncorroborated statistics’, which show that at least 40 traders will have nowhere to go when the centre closes, and online ‘misinformation’. This is clearly aimed at the Up the Elephant campaign, including the 35% Campaign and, in particular, Latin Elephant, who have worked tirelessly to support the traders.
Latin Elephant has issued its own rebuttal, noting that Delancey and Southwark have now themselves admitted in the joint statement that only 40 traders have been found new premises, ‘leaving about 40 traders who have been trading at least since January 2019 (as per the s106 agreement) without alternative premises’. Latin Elephant’s rebuttal also includes links to all the supporting research evidence on the fate of traders, through the regeneration process. This research names the independent businesses, maps their location and gives relevant dates.
Who gets to be eligible?
As Latin Elephant explains, while 130 independent businesses were recognised by Southwark as operating within the red-line of the development in January 2018 (the date of the first hearing for the shopping centre planning application), Delancey and Southwark take only 79 ‘eligible’ businesses as the base-line in their account of the relocation process, excluding many long-standing businesses. Delancey and Southwark then whittle the 79 ‘eligible’ businesses down to forty businesses, in successive stages– 64 applications received, 61 valid, 40 found new premises. (Southwark has acknowledged on its website that there are 33 eligible traders remaining without a relocation offer, but that is not mentioned in the joint statement).
The ‘options’ for those not awarded premises are to search for somewhere else themselves, through a commercial premises database. If they do not find anywhere, they will receive payments of around £8000. The inadequacy of these ‘options’ hardly needs stating. The database has been a constant source of frustration to traders, who have criticised it for being out of date and listing premises that are simply too expensive and too far away. An £8000 payment is also very little compensation for the loss of a livelihood, built up over many years and a long way short of what is needed to re-establish a business; one of our previous blogposts has the stories of traders of up to 20 years standing who are in this situation.

No commitments
Delancey and Southwark’s joint statement also takes pains to say that there was never a commitment to relocate all the traders. This is shamefully true – it is to Southwark’s great discredit that it ignored evidence from Latin Elephant that this situation was bound to arise, because there was only half the space required for a proper trader relocation in Delancey’s redevelopment plans, but Southwark went ahead and approved the plans nonetheless. Notwithstanding the lack of a formal commitment, Southwark still created the impression that all traders would be accommodated; when asked directly by councillors at the planning meeting for Castle Sq, one of the relocation sites, whether ‘given all of the different site…does that cover…enough sites for all of the current number of traders…..How many short would we be roughly?’ council officers replied ‘…across the piste there should be sufficient’. By their own testimonies traders also confirm that they have been strung along with false hopes of relocation space throughout the relocation process.
Stall-holders do it for themselves
Faced with the loss of their businesses the market stallholders who occupy the ‘moat’ that surrounds the shopping centre have banded together to draft a Proposal for more market stalls at the Elephant, after the centre’s closure. The Proposal was received by Florence Eshalomi, London Assembly member for Lambeth and Southwark, who met the traders at City Hall, gave strong support and undertook to take up the matter with Mayor Sadiq Khan. Local councillor Cllr Maria Linforth-Hall also met the traders and is giving her support, as are Assembly members Caroline Pidgeon and Sian Berry, Assembly Member and the Green Party candidate for Mayor.

The Camberwell and Peckham Labour Party Constituency Party also passed a motion in support of the traders’ Proposal at their meeting last week.
…while UAL looks after itself
Sadly, the University of the Arts London (UAL) has not felt able to help the traders, nearly all of whom come from black and ethnic minority backgrounds and despite its professed commitment to Black Lives Matter. In letters received by Southwark Law Centre UAL declines to either withdraw from the shopping centre redevelopment which will supply it with a new campus for the London College of Communication on the very spot traders now occupy, nor to offer support for the traders’ Proposals for additional market stalls. UAL is instead happy to take Southwark and Delancey’s assurances that all traders are being properly treated at face value.
Division and attrition
Southwark and Delancey’s treatment of the people who actually work at the Elephant now can be summed up as ‘division and attrition’. The relocation strategy and traders’ participation in decisions on their future were only put in place after Delancey had gained planning committee approval for their scheme. Latin Elephant’s advocacy on behalf of all the BAME traders was also resisted. The s106 legal agreement (negotiated between Southwark, Delancey and UAL), which determines who was ‘eligible’ and who was ineligible for relocation support uses formal criteria around leases and licences that do not reflect the way the community has developed over the years. Alongside this, the decline in footfall and in the physical fabric of the centre led to a decline in trade that unsurprisingly meant that traders left before the centre’s closure, wearied beyond hope by the whole ‘regeneration’ process.
For Southwark and Delancey this is all part of the natural process of regeneration and relocating just 40 out of 130 traders is a triumph to be proud of. For the traders and the campaigners who support them it is deplorable outcome which exposes the hollow promise that the Elephant and Castle regeneration is providing a ‘fairer future’ for the local community.
 Southwark Council’s Planning Framework for E&C regeneration.
Going, but not forgotten…
You can see a short valedictory film, by Emile Scott Burgoyne, celebrating the Elephant community here.
See joint statement, heading ‘Who is being relocated?’, first bullet point. 

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Recent Articles:
Shopping Centre traders propose new stalls for the Elephant
Southwark responds to shopping centre campaigners
The shopping centre traders expelled by regeneration
Campaigners demand that UAL withdraws from shopping centre development.
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35% Campaign update – Shopping Centre traders propose new stalls for the Elephant

Sep 14, 2020 12:00 am

Traders appeal to Mayor Sadiq Khan for his support -Traders who will be losing their market stalls when the Elephant and Castle shopping closes have come up with their own proposal for new stalls at the Elephant. Around forty traders face the loss of their businesses and livelihoods when the Centre closes its doors for the last time on 24 September.The traders’ proposals are for new stalls to be sited around the Faraday Memorial, by the railway arches along Archer St and outside the new Elephant Arcade, at the bottom of Perronet House.Traders are proposing at least 45 new stalls. Most of the new stalls would be around the large silver Faraday Memorial in the middle of the Elephant roundabout. This will become an even more important commuter route between the train station and the tube stations, with the closure of the shopping centre. The proposal would keep established traders at the heart of the Elephant and maintain the ‘sense of place’ that they have created. The proposal builds upon a previous Transport for London (TfL) project, from 2014, but never delivered.The proposal has been sent to the Mayor of London for his support. The land around the Faraday memorial is owned by TfL, which the Mayor leads.Local London Assembly member Florence Eshalomi MP has submitted a formal question to the Mayor asking him if he will support the proposals.Traders are also looking for support from local councillors from all parties and representatives at the London Assembly.Traders believe that with wholehearted support from the Mayor, Southwark Council, councillors and London Assembly members, all the displaced traders from the shopping centre can be found new homes. Only 45 out of 97 traders had secured relocation space, up to the end of April 2020.The proposal was devised by Alice Chilangwa Farmer and is supported by the Up the Elephant Campaign, Latin Elephant and Southwark Law Centre. If adopted it would provide shopping options and continuity to a local community facing a prolonged period of disruption and construction work.The complete proposal can be found here.This is what the traders and supporters have to say;Trader Shapoor Amini says: ‘ I’ve worked at this market since 2001. These people promised us so many things, they said we’ll give you a space, we’ll look after you guys, but they’ve done nothing for us. …I applied so many times—I’ve made calls, been to the council, been to the office, done lots of paperwork […] been to countless meetings, and still nothing. My whole life has been spent in this market, in this area, and now I don’t know what to do…..I have a kids, a wife it is very difficult’.Trader Edmund Attoh says: ‘I’m working here over 20 years. Things are very difficult people who have been here for a long time didn’t get nothing. That’s what we don’t understand, that’s why we are frustrated. We don’t know where we are going now. I applied for a space, and anything they asked, we give to them. They turned us down. But they didn’t say [why].’Traders Mathew and Eden Onuba say: ‘We’ve been 5 years at Elephant and Castle. We don’t know what to do in September, it is a very difficult situation. I don’t want much, but to save the business we’ve built up together.’
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35% Campaign update – Southwark responds to shopping centre campaigners

Southwark responds to shopping centre campaigners

Aug 31, 2020 12:00 am

Council put on defensive by fierce criticism -Southwark Council has posted a lengthy statement in defence of its treatment of the shopping centre traders, as around 40 face the loss of their livelihood when the centre closes on 24 September, according to research by local charity Latin Elephant.

The updated statement tries to answer the fierce criticism of Southwark and developer Delancey from the traders and their supporters, as voiced on the BBC Radio London’s Drive time with Eddie Nestor programme and detailed in Latin Elephant’s twitter feed.

Southwark’s statement says that 45 traders have been relocated, with 33 ‘remaining’. Thirty-one of the ‘remaining’ unallocated traders, with nowhere to go, have received £3000 each from the Business Transition Grant. They will receive a second payment of an unspecified amount ‘near the closure of the shopping centre’ ; given the number of traders and the total size of the Business Transition Grant fund (£200k) this is likely to be about another £3000. Southwark also say that unallocated traders ‘are able to claim from the relocation fund’ – a consolation, no doubt, but of limited use to them if they have nowhere to relocate to.

Other than this the statement details various generic ‘business support’ measures, such as access to websites and databases and advice from ‘independent business and relocation advisor’ Tree Shepherd (remote access only).

The inadequacy of these ‘business support’ measures barely needs stating; if they were of any use nearly half of the remaining traders would not be without new premises. Our webpage E&C Traders with nowhere to go has the testimonies of six unallocated traders, who have been at the centre for between eight and 20 years each (a total of nearly a hundred years between them). They are all experienced traders who would otherwise be continuing in their trade, but for the regeneration. They deserve something more than ineffectual promises of help, with a derisory £6000 to see them on their way, come 24 September.

The Relocation Fund

While Southwark says ‘the Relocation Fund (£647,835) has been available for eligible traders …from February 2020 traders have not in fact been getting the money they need because Southwark, Delancey and Tree Shepherd have shown no urgency in resolving issues around the costs of fit-outs and lease and rent arrangements. Southwark says these are being ‘currently’ resolved, when there is less than a month to go before closure. There is also no on-the-ground practical help, of the kind Tree Shepherd should be providing. This can be excused to an extent by the Covid crisis, but that does not help the traders.

Each relocation payment will be based on the size of the new premise, but averages out at £14,396 per trader – less than a tenth of Tree Shepherd’s fee of £192,900 for administering the whole exercise 1. The payments are only designed to meet actual relocation costs – they do not include any compensation for loss of business, premises, disturbance etc.

The total amount in the Relocation Fund is derisory in comparison to the Delancey’s anticipated profit of £148.42. Southwark attempts to address this, saying ‘Delancey have long agreed to supplement the relocation fund on a case by case basis’. This turns out to be Delancey’s hardship fund, awarded entirely at Delancey’s discretion and only after traders have first considered raising loans from family, friends or elsewhere. An alternative method would be to simply assess the actual costs of relocating and paying anything above the paltry amount currently on offer. Delancey has also helpfully advised that traders could become Uber drivers.

Southwark’s statement – the highlights

Several other parts of Southwark’s statement stand out, one for being particularly inane;

‘For many smaller traders this is an opportunity to grow and develop their business.’

There has never been true at any point since the redevelopment of the shopping centre was first proposed three years ago and it certainly isn’t true now.

Southwark also claim that ‘The council is committed to enabling the largest possible number of existing businesses to remain in the area’ .

If Southwark was genuinely committed to keeping the largest number of businesses in the area it would not have approved a planning application that did not guarantee this. Southwark’s planning department was happy to recommend, in 2017, a scheme that did not then have one of the main relocation sites (Castle Square). It continued to recommend a scheme without a fully realised relocation strategy, which the planning committee duly approved. Delancey designed the redevelopment to exclude current independent traders and Southwark went along with them 3.

Southwark’s statement further says, ‘Unfortunately there were always going to be traders that were not able to be offered a unit in the relocation spaces listed owing to space restrictions.’

This is not what Southwark said back in December 2018, when the question was raised at the planning meeting for the temporary relocation facility at Castle Square. When asked directly by councillors ‘given all of the different site…does that cover…enough sites for all of the current number of traders…..How many short would we be roughly?’ council officers replied ‘…across the piste there should be sufficient’.

Southwark ignored the true state of affairs, revealed by Latin Elephant’s planning objection in July 2018, which said ‘Only 2,050sqm of affordable retail space would be available for immediate relocation, and 4,005sqm is needed’ and approved the scheme anyway 4. Southwark was also well aware that ‘Market stall operators may experience temporary or permanent closure or disruption to business operations, financial or other barriers to re-opening at the new development or in the wider area’ , but this did not lead them to seek improvements in the scheme or to insist on a fully realised relocation strategy, agreed with traders, before giving planning approval 5.

Gone – but not forgotten

While Southwark has been forced to turn its attention to the remaining traders, it would be easy to forget the traders, services and leisure amenities that have already been lost to the regeneration. Latin Elephant/petit Elephant research shows that there were around 130 traders in January 2018; now we have about ninety left, with only about half reallocated. Forty or so more have already gone, and have fallen out of Southwark’s reckoning, forced to leave, as footfall and business declined, wearied beyond hope by the whole ‘regeneration’ process.

Amongst these are the London Palace bingo hall, one of Britain’s largest, with its large customer base in the BAME community; the Palace Superbowl bowling alley, much loved by local students; the Coronet live music night-club, an entertainment venue since 1872; the Charlie Chaplin pub, the many small office businesses in Hannibal House, just above the centre, which also housed a college, charities and voluntary organisations and the United Voices of the World trade union. In Southwark’s happy reality they no longer exist and so their loss does not count.

The true story about the shopping centre redevelopment is the same as it was for the Heygate estate regeneration – Southwark Council has thrown its lot in with the developers, Lendlease and Delancey, and what happens to the people who actually live and work at the Elephant has been an afterthought.

Footnotes:

  1. Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre s106 Agreement pg 113 
  2. Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre s106 Agreement Appendix 10 pg 266 
  3. Delancey’s view of the independent traders was made clear in their Planning Statement, which says ‘…some existing retailers in the area are benefitting from disproportionately low levels of rent for such a central London location and it may not be financially viable for them to survive in the wider area over the longer term’ para 8.7. 
  4. Officer’s Report Elephant and Castel Shopping Centre 3 July 2018 para 851 
  5. Officer’s Report Elephant and Castel Shopping Centre 3 July 2018 para 169 

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35% Campaign update – The shopping centre traders expelled by regeneration

The shopping centre traders expelled by regeneration

Aug 24, 2020 12:00 am

University of the Arts ignores traders’ plight -In our last blog post we detailed how Up the Elephant and other campaigners had written to the University of the Arts, London (UAL), informing them that at least 28 traders had not been relocated new premises, as they face the closure of their businesses, to make way for the demolition and redevelopment of the shopping centre. Analysis by Latin Elephant puts the number of traders in peril at between fourty and fifty.

All the displaced traders (bar one) come from black and ethnic minority backgrounds and the campaigner’s letter demanded that UAL withdraw from the redevelopment, which includes a new UAL campus, in line with its Black Lives Matter statement “We aim to build our anti-racism commitments through collective engagement into actions that make a meaningful difference.”

No reply from UAL

Nearly a month after the letter was sent no reply has been received. We are printing below the stories of six of the displaced traders, in their own words, to prompt UAL into giving some thought to those who are losing their livelihoods so that they can benefit from shiny new premises. Southwark Council and developer Delancey might also want to take heed.

Nassim Cheraitain

My name is Nassim Cheraitian, I’ve been trading at Elephant and Castle market for over 20 years. The closing down of the Shopping Centre, for us, wasn’t good news, because they haven’t helped us. For the last three, four, five years business has been down, we’ve been losing, losing… they promised us they would help to find us to find a new unit but they didn’t. I applied, they asked us for all our details […] we provided them with everything. After that they said that there isn’t space for everyone. And it’s been left like this. We don’t have anywhere to go. They [the council] gave us £3000, but honestly it’s not really [been helpful]. £3000 is nothing — three years ago they told us they would help us, so all that time we’ve been waiting, the business has gone down, we’ve been losing money, losing customers every day, and we were waiting to get something back. Instead we got £3000. I don’t have any plans, as I’ve been waiting to get this promised help from the council […] we’ve been here for too long for them to leave us like this […] [my customers] are unhappy, they think it is unfair to us, we’ve been here too long to be left with nothing—no shop, no unit, nothing.

Shapoor Amini

My name is Shapoor Amini, I’ve worked at this market since 2001. These people promised us so many things, they said we’ll give you a space, we’ll look after you guys, but they’ve done nothing for us. Some people who were [trading] here for one year, two years, 6 months, they got a space. Me, I’ve been here 20 years, and they gave me nothing; they just said sorry, sorry, you still need to wait. And I don’t know what’s going on. I had someone who worked for me who got a space! But I’ve been here for twenty years and nothing. I applied so many times—I’ve made calls, been to the council, been to the office, done lots of paperwork […] been to countless meetings, and still nothing. I don’t know why not, they never talk to us face to face. They sent letters out […]some people got something, others didn’t […] everybody knows me here […] customers come to me as say ‘where is your new space?’, and I say I don’t know. My whole life has been spent in this market, in this area, and now I don’t know what to do. It’s very difficult for me. I have a kids, a wife… they said if you find yourself a shop we will help you. But at this late stage how can I find a shop? […] they promised us too much. Places are asking for a £30,000 deposit, it is very difficult.

Edmund Attoh

My name is Edmund, I’m working here [at the market] over 20 years. Things are very difficult, they gave a space to some people, who’d been here 5 years, 4 years, 2 years, people who have been here for a long time didn’t get nothing. That’s what we don’t understand, that’s why we are frustrated. We don’t know where we are going now. I applied for a space, and anything they asked, we give to them. They turned us down. But they didn’t say [why]. It has affected us […] someone who has been here for 20 years, and suddenly they say go. We don’t know where we are going. It is very hard for us. My customers always call me and ask where we are going. But we don’t know what to tell them […] that is a problem for us […] we’re looking to them (the council) […] we need help.

Mohammed Jamal

My name is Mohammed Jamal, I’m working in the market the last 8 years. I’m in a very bad situation, because I haven’t found a relocation […] I’ve got four children, and i’ve got no choice [but to work at the market] because I’m more than 55 now, and can’t find any other suitable job, and I’ve also got an illness I take medicine for […] customers ask ‘where are you going’ I said I still can’t find relocation […] because the council says there is no more relocation, it is all full. But I am still waiting for something to come up. One lady told me I’m not even on the waiting list […] she said your application is on file but not on the waiting list […] because there are so many people and the relocation spaces are limited […] I applied many times for a space […] and a small shop is alright for me […] I sent many emails, but no answer. The feeling of not having anything is very painful. If someone doesn’t speak English very well, or is softly spoken […] I am very soft, not talking a lot. That could be why no-one helped me.

Muhammad Raza

My name is Muhammad Raza, I’m working here since 2006. The market is dead now, before it was alright, but slowly, slowly they are closing down shops, big stores—Tesco, Poundland, Boots is going—it’s really dead now so it’s really hard to survive. And because we don’t have a space we don’t know what to do. Tree Shepherd and Delancey aren’t answering our emails, actually I emailed two days ago and didn’t get a response. This morning Tree Shepherd called me and said ‘if you find yourself any shop, we’ll help you’, I said which kind of help? Because I’m looking for a shop […] but if I look myself shops are £15,000, £20,000—I can’t afford that rent. And Tree Shepherd said they don’t have any affordable rents. If your looking for Castle Square or Elephant One, don’t even think about it […] they said ‘we’ll help you’, but which kind of help? I don’t know. This has affected my business, my life, my family, I don’t know what to do next.

Mohammed Al Waris

“My name is Mohammed Al Waris, I’ve been trading at the Elephant and Castle market for the past 15 plus years. Throughout these years I’ve been selling fashion accessories, and I’ve made friendships within the local community. Recently what happened was that they tried to demolish the shopping centre, and that affected most of the traders’ lives, I’m one of them. We haven’t been offered anything. We were asked to pick three different locations—Castle Square, Perronet House, Elephant One—they haven’t offered me none of them. They haven’t told me [why], they just said we haven’t got any affordable unit for you guys. At the beginning they promised us, and then we suffer for the past three years, they closed the subway (underground walkway) and the business going down by about 80%. Two years before they came with an application, saying that we going to definitely relocate you 100%. Now we have one and a half months left to leave the market, and we can’t get any help from Tree Shepherd, or from Delancey. Every time we talk to the they say ‘sorry we haven’t got anything for you guys’, so we can’t do nothing. I believe we are entitled to a place in this area, cos they are making millions from this project, why can’t they help these traders? These traders have families they are trying to look after. By kicking them out, they are destroying their family life […] I really hope they can think about these traders and help to move them to a place nearby the area, where they have their customers […] they say you can’t stay in the area because this area, like Central London, is going to be very expensive. So where should we go? We don’t know.”

Our campaign…

Our campaign is to get Nassim, Shapoor, Edmund, Mohammed, Mohummad, Mohammed and their fellow traders new premises or suitable compensation for the loss of their businesses. The power to do this lies with Southwark Council, Delancey and University of the Arts London (UAL), but time is running out fast – the centre is due to close on 24 September.

You can help us by sending a Twitter message to the Southwark Councillors responsible for this fiasco:

  • @peterjohn6 (Council Leader)
  • @rebeccalury (Deputy Leader, Ward Cllr and Cabinet member for Equalites and Communities)
  • @MerrilDarren (Ward Cllr and Chair of the traders panel that was supposed to support traders)
  • @cllrmseaton (Ward Cllr and Chair of the Planning Committee)
  • @JohnsonSitu (Cabinet member for Regeneration)
  • @Leo_Pollak (Cabinet member for Social Regeneration)
  • @steviecryan (Cabinet member for Jobs, Business and Innovation)
  • @coyleneil (Local MP and Elephant & Castle resident)

You can find more infomation about the displaced traders can be found here.
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