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Boris approves £1.5bn overhaul of Elephant and Castle’s ‘no-man’s land’

The London mayor has formally backed Make’s controversial 8.8 hectare redevelopment of the Heygate housing estate in Elephant and Castle, London

The final approval allows developer Lend Lease to replace the desolate 1970s housing development – whose population was rehoused over the past five years – with 2,469 new homes.

The mayor’s rubberstamp comes after leaked documents led to local authority Southwark Council being criticised for selling the large central London plot for £50 million and failing to guarantee large numbers of new affordable housing.

In January, Southwark Council granted outline planning permission for the project which is part of a regeneration agreement between the local authority and the major developer.

As well as nearly 2,500 homes, Make’s scheme includes shops, offices, leisure and community facilities and a park.

A quarter of the new homes will be affordable and the local authority is expecting to land 1,625 new affordable homes as part of the wider area’s regeneration.

London mayor Boris Johnson said: ‘It is vital that we push forward with work to unlock the massive economic potential of the Elephant and Castle area which has languished in a no-man’s land for too many years. This development is a fantastic example of how new life can be breathed into communities, delivering thousands of new homes and jobs for Londoners.

Lend Lease’s Mark Dickinson commented: ‘The regeneration of Elephant & Castle is now underway. The Mayor’s approval of our master plan vision sets in motion our long-term plans and our commitment to the area. We’ve set out our blueprint for the future but there is a lot of detailed work to undertake and we’ll continue working with the community at every step.’

Lend Lease development director Rob Deck told the AJ in 2011 the company was keen to ‘represent a diversity of architectural styles’ on the Heygate project and planned to appoint up to 12 more architects to work on the scheme.

Last summer dRMM submitted detailed plans for the project’s first, 235-home phase which replaces the nearby 1.1 hectare Rodney Road housing estate.

As part of the regeneration agreement, the district’s liesure centre is being replaced with a new John McAslan-designed facility and a residential tower by Squire and Partners.

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