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Southwark denies it will hold architectural 'beauty contest'

Southwark council has trounced rumours it is planning to host a 'beauty contest' of architects to mastermind the regeneration of Elephant and Castle in south London.

According to area development director Chris Horn, an 'architectural panel' will only be used for the initial phases of regeneration and not the massive redevelopment of the main commercial space in the heart of the borough.

These early stages involve the re-housing of the residents of the Heygate Estate.

Once a shortlist of designers and developers is drawn up, the 'architectural panel' of residential-design experts will be paired up with those hoping to work on the new housing.

Meanwhile, a decision on which of three consortia will take forward the commercial side of the project will be made in June 2006. Oceancrest, St Modwen and Bovis Lend Lease are all vying to take on the opportunity to design a new shopping centre in the centre of Elephant and Castle.

Among those linked to these key developers are: the Richard Rogers Partnership, SOM, Fletcher Priest, Marks Barfield and Will Alsop.

Horn added: 'The truth is, we won't be thinking about the finer points of how the commercial space will be taken forward for some time.'

by Rob Sharp

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