This evening Southwark Council’s planning committee will vote on whether to give planning permission to developer Delancey’s regeneration plans for Elephant and Castle shopping centre.
The meeting comes five months after a councillors rejected an initial offer but postponed a final decision until after May’s local elections in a tense meeting that ran into the early hours.
Campaigners have kept up pressure, arguing that the ‘non compliant’ application does not offer enough social housing units and genuinely affordable homes, and that independent traders especially from the Latin American community will be adversely affected.
Delancey’s new bid has increased homes set at social rent to 116 units instead of 74, thanks to funding from the Greater London Authority, and has committed to giving a commercial bingo operator first refusal for some of the new centre’s leisure space.
The impact of losing the existing bingo and bowling facilities on the Black and Ethnic Minority community (BAME) and older people has also proved controversial.
Delancey has increased engagement with traders and included concessions in its revised proposals such as a temporary site for displaced traders and relocation funding.
Tonight Up the Elephant campaigners will congregate outside the council’s Tooley Street offices in a last-ditch attempt to encourage Southwark’s planning committee to reject the vote.
But fears have been raised that a ‘no’ vote could lead to more uncertainty – leaving traders even worse off.
The council is piloting a new live stream directly from its offices – you can watch using the link below, from 6.30pm on Tuesday, July 3.