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

Delancey deals double blow to shopping centre traders

Apr 29, 2019 12:00 am

Tesco leaves, bingo hall boarded

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

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

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

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

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

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

Delancey manage centre’s decline

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

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

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

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Petition – Keep Tesco at the Elephant!

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

Save the Elephant’s Diverse Community!

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

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

Dear Friend

CrowdJustice launch – TUES MARCH 5 2019

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

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

CAN YOU MAKE A DONATION?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can find out more HERE

Castle Square – still not good enough

Dear Friend

Our Protest pays dividends!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Regards
Jerry

Big week for the shopping centre

Dear Friend

Next week is a big week for the shopping centre.  Mayor Sadiq Khan is expected to deliver his decision on the shopping centre planning application tomorrow, after Southwark Council referred their decision to approve Delancey’s plans to him at the end of November.  He can either approve, direct refusal or take over the decision himself.

Sian Berry AM has written to the Mayor, asking him to call the decision in – read more here.

The planning application for Castle Square is also going to planning committee on Tuesday .  This the tempororay relocation facility for the traders and is welcomed – but it is too small and there are many outstanding issues, such as length of leases and rent, which have not been resolved with the traders.

Delancey must get approval of the Castle Square application before it can proceed with the redevelopment of the shopping centre, so please join us to support the Traders on Tuesday – 6pm, Southwark Council HQ, 160 Tooley St SE12QH –  read more here.

Regards
Jerry

PS We raised £1800 at the Up the Elephant Party last week – 180 people attended – thanks to Distriandina, DJ Gloria, DJ Fulvio, Arch 7 traders, Elephant Traders Association, Latin Elephant, Southwark DCH, Southwark Notes and everyone who helped organise a great evening.

 

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35% Campaign update – Elephant shopping centre – decision day

Elephant shopping centre – decision day

Dec 08, 2018 12:00 am

Mayor’s verdict due on Monday

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan is due to make a decision on the Elephant shopping centre planning application on Monday, 10 December. Southwark resolved to approve developer Delancey’s proposals back in July, after fierce opposition and three planning committee meetings. Southwark referred the decision to the Mayor on 29 November, when it sent him the legal s106 agreement, which seals the application; he can either approve, direct refusal or take the decision over himself.

The Mayor has said that he will demand a ‘robust relocation strategy’ for traders displaced by the centre’s proposed demolition and redevelopment. He has also said that he will be subjecting the affordable housing offer to ‘rigorous scrutiny’ and be addressing unresolved transport issues.

Relocation strategy and Castle Square

The relocation strategy is listed as Appendix 10 to the s106 (although titled Appendix 9) and was only published on Friday, 7 December. It outlines how traders will be assisted, but they take issue with the document’s claim that they have been consulted on its contents (9. Trader Consultation). The Trader Panel has not yet been established and the temporary relocation facility at Castle Sq has drawn many objections, for its small size, design, opening hours, leases and rents. As the Latin Elephant objection points out these issues could have been resolved though the Trader Panel, had it been set up more promptly.

According to the terms of the S106 agreement, Delancey must obtain planning permission for a temporary boxpark before it can proceed with the redevelopment of the shopping centre and this will be decided by Southwark’s planning sub-committee B on 12 December.

The S106 agreement

Aside from the relocation strategy other notable aspects of the draft S106 include no mention of increasing the social housing offer, above the 116 units Delancey has already committed to build, if it receives a GLA grant. Delancey claimed to the planning committee that it had an ‘in-principle agreement’ for the funding, but this claim has been challenged by campaign groups.

There also remain several points on which Southwark and Delancey are not in agreement, including the target profit on the residential element of the scheme – Delancey wants 17.5% GDV, Southwark says 12.5% GDV is a more appropriate profit level (pg 39, footnote). This could be significant for getting more affordable housing; if the target is exceeded, half the extra profit should go to Southwark, so it benefits from the lower figure.

Page 60 of the S106 agreement (‘Eligibility Review’) also details the complex arrangements for extending the London Living Rent and other so-called affordable, discounted market rent tenancies, beyond their 3-year terms. Tenants who are fortunate enough to see their salary increase during their tenancies may also find much of it going to Delancey, if they jump into a higher band of rent payment – or maybe not, depending on what other affordable units are available at the time. While Delancey is bound to maintain the affordable housing ratios, final decisions on how to do this are left in Delancey’s hands.

Sadiq Khan must reject this scheme

The shopping centre traders are the people to judge whether or not Delancey’s proposals for trader relocation are ‘robust’, as the Mayor has demanded; but the Trader Panel has not been set up and has had no opportunity to discuss the relocation strategy, yet alone amend or improve it, so this test has not been passed.

There are also unanswered questions over any GLA funding for social rented housing; will Delancey get the funding and if it does, will it increase the amount of social rented housing or just use it to subsidise the 116 units it has already committed to build?

The Mayor also needs to take a close look at the head-scratching arrangements for extending so-called affordable rent tenancies, beyond their 3-year terms. They are a recipe for confusion and mismanagement and will leave tenants vulnerable and insecure.

The case for Sadiq Khan ‘calling-in’ this application is strong, for the sake of shopping Centre traders, the local community and all future residents and the call-in is supported by Sian Berry AM amongst others. Delancey’s scheme does not deserve to be approved and should be rejected.

You can still object to Delancey’s inadequate boxpark application here.

You can also join us to make some noise at a demonstration this coming Wednesdaywhen the Council’s planning committee decides on the boxpark application: 6pm 12 December 2018, Southwark Council head office, 160 Tooley St SE1 2QH

https://www.facebook.com/events/747582068976611/


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35% Campaign update – Castle Square – Delancey responds

Nov 24, 2018 12:00 am

Small progress but still not enough on traders’ temporary premises -Since our last blog on the Elephant & Castle shopping centre saga, over 100 objections have been made to the temporary boxpark proposals for traders on Castle Square.

In response, Delancey has submitted a two-page document covering rent levels, tenancy agreements, service charges, selection criteria, hours of operation, access and the relocation fund. There is now a reconsultation on the planning application proposals.

One clear improvement has been made – the facility will now have lift access – but otherwise Delancey does little more than restate its previous position.

There will still be no affordable retail units, but Delancey claims that the proposed rents are “discounted in excess of the requirements of the Elephant & Castle SPD”.

Delancey also states that traders will be given first right of refusal to the temporary units at Castle Square and units will not be let to others until Delancey receives refusals in writing.

However, the overall size of the boxpark facility is still only 492 square metres and there is no increase to the relocation fund of £634k.

There is also still no agreement with the traders on any of these and the other issues such as the trading hours, service charges and selection criteria.

Moreover, the Traders Panel has only just got off the ground, with no traders yet appointed to the Panel.

Until this happens none of these issues can be said to be settled and the “robust relocation strategy” that Mayor Sadiq Khan is asking for will not be achieved.

Many of our readers have previously submitted objections. We have drafted a revised objection in light of the minor revisions submitted by Delancey.

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

Join our party!

The Up the Elephant Campaign in support of the traders and for more social rented housing at the Elephant is also holding a Campaign Party on this coming Friday 30 Nov – a night of of Latin beats with DJ Gloria (Exilio) to raise funds to pursue a legal challange to Southwark Council’s granting of planning permission for the shopping centre scheme – further details and tickets available here.

Links: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Up-the-Elephant-1117314135042279/events/
https://twitter.com/uptheelephant_
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Joint campaign asks mayor of London to bin the Elephant scheme

From Elephant Amenity Network

Dear friend,

You will know by now that the shopping centre planning application has been approved, by a very narrow margin.  However there is still some distance to go before the development goes forward and the Mayor of London still has to give his endorsement to Southwark’s decision.

We are campaigning now to get the Mayor to refuse to do this, as he has the power to do. We have now sent a joint open letter to the Mayor asking him to call the application in and improve the offer or direct a refusal.
Our letter to Mayor Sadiq Khan is here (pdf)

Green Party AM Sian Berry has also written to the Mayor:
https://www.southwarkgreenparty.org.uk/call_in_the_elephant_decision_says_sian

Please  SIGN THE PETITION

Sadiq: Say NO to the displacement of BAME communities from Elephant & Castle

Eight Labour Councillors, including the local ward councillors and the deputy leader, have made their dissatisfaction with the decision clear and have also  asked London mayor Sadiq Khan to make improvements.   London Assembly member Florence Eshalomi and a local Labour ward has added their voices to the call.

Many local Labour branches have passed a motion opposing the decision to approve the application and asking Sadiq to intervene. This has caused a spat inside Labour, with the local MP Neil Coyle bizarrely accusing one of these branches of “bullying”. This article in Southwark News has more details:
 https://www.southwarknews.co.uk/news/neil-coyle-goes-to-war-with-his-own-party-after-blasting-labour-bullies-and-trolls/ 

Campaign groups, including the 35% Campaign, Latin Elephant and Up the Elephant have also vowed to continue the fight.

See http://35percent.org/2018-07-09-delancey/