Victory for anti- gentrification campaigners in Elephant and Castle

Plans to regenerate Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre and surrounding areas by development firm Delancey were halted by the council Planning Committee late yesterday night.

After 7 hours of discussion, Southwark Planning Committee voted 4 against 3 to reject application for redevelopment. Now committee will meet again on 30th January to vote again for the grounds for rejection.

The plans involved demolition of the shopping centre, London Collage of Communication campus, Coronet Theatre and : a local bingo hall frequented by elderly Black and ethnic majority local residents; and construction of new retail space and rented flats. Major concerns with the application included the fact it only provided 33 social rent properties out of 979, gave no guarantees for the independent traders, and its significant negative impact on residents in a vicinity of the development.

During the committee meeting, many local residents voiced their concerns. Patria Roman from Latin Elephant said that planning application has failed to address the negative impact of redeveloping the shopping centre on Black and minority ethnic communities. She also

Delancey responded to local concerns with “voluntary subsidy” of extra London Living Rent homes. The company yesterday submitted a revised 35% affordable housing proposal for Elephant and Castle scheme, of which 10% were supposed to be rented at  social rent equivalent,  47% at London Living Rent , and 43% for people earning £60k-90k. Delancey managed to raise eyebrows with their apparent expectation that  key workers can share new flats and therefore fulfill high income requirement. The company also declared that “the loss of the Latin businesses does not decimate the Latin community”, but failed to provide any evidence for this claim.

The committee meeting met with protests from local community and London College of Communication  students, who on Monday occupied LCC in solidarity with local residents. The demo organised by anti- gentrification campaigners yesterday afternoon was attended by many locals wanting to put pressure on the council to reject the proposed plan. Southwark residents entered the council Tooley Street HQ protesting against the social cleansing planning application by Delancey. Many protestors waited until about 1am to see the council rejecting developer’s planning application.

Campaigners are calling for more protests on 30th January in order to secure final rejection of redevelopment scheme for Elephant and Castle.

In 2014, Delancey registered its Elephant and Castle land holdings offshore. The company’s projected profit from Elephant and Castle gentrification was £154 million.

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Photo: London Latinxs

Video: Up the Elephant