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SOM to redevelop Elephant and Castle shopping centre

SOM has been appointed to work on the mixed-use ‘transformation’ of one of London’s most maligned structures, the Elephant and Castle shopping centre

Designed by Boissenvain & Osmond, the 1965 shopping centre has been at the centre of controversy ever since plans for its demolition were scrapped earlier this year.

A cabinet meeting of Southwark Council approved an agreement with site owner St Modwen for the structure’s mixed-use redevelopment yesterday (17 May).

SOM’s plans, which remain under development, include creating residential towers above the building and enhancing its public realm.

Cabinet members were presented with concept images for the project yesterday, including alternative ‘curvaceous’ and ‘blocky’ schemes.

The agreement sounds the final death knell for plans to replace the centre with a ‘shopping street’ - part of  an original Make-designed masterplan for the site.

The 1960s concrete structure will be stripped down to its ‘very bare bones’ and foundations as part of plans to create an ‘unrecognisable’ retail destination on the site according to the council.

Councillor Fiona Colley, Southwark cabinet member for regeneration said: ‘This agreement is a major step to accelerate the transformation of the shopping centre, which could now happen within the next few years, rather than towards the end of the 15 year regeneration process which could otherwise have been the case.

‘The current preferred approach involves retaining the core of the existing structure, but extending the buildings to provide additional high quality retail and residential space.

‘The rebuilt centre would be unrecognisable compared to the current, much derided, buildings.’

The building is part of Southwark Council and Lend Lease’s £1.5 billion redevelopment programme for the wider Elephant and Castle area, currently being re-masterplanned by Make.

Negotiations with key stakeholders are set to proceed, prior to a public consultation on SOM’s scheme.

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