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Foster and Yeang land £1bn Elephant and Castle prize

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A masterplan by KP Architects including designs by Foster and Partners has been picked for the £1 billion regeneration of the Elephant and Castle in south London.

Southwark Council selected the Southwark Land Regeneration scheme above two other consortia which included designs by Terry Farrell & Partners, Michael Hopkins & Partners and John Thompson Architects.

A new plaza the size of Trafalgar Square by Foster and Partners will form the centrepiece of the scheme, but 3000 private houses in tower blocks by Fosters and Malaysian skyscraper specialist Ken Yeang look set to be its most controversial element. Revenue from these towers will provide funds for the reconstruction of social housing on the site. But local objections to the height of the towers - 55 storeys and 45 storeys - may mean that the private housing element will have to be reduced, thereby cutting the funds available to rebuild the social housing of the Heygate estate, which is to be demolished.

'Without these 'money-maker' towers, we couldn't go ahead with replacing all the social housing, ' Southwark director of planning Fred Manson said. 'The scheme gives us a financial example for the 100 per cent reprovision of social housing, but there is a tremendous amount of work still to be done before this can happen.'

Foster is also designing a giant covered transport interchange, while Yeang is producing three residential 'g a rd en' towe r s . A sub te r r an e an shopping centre by Benoy, social housing by HTA Architects and landscaping by Derek Lovejoy Partnership are also part of the consortium's winning bid.

Manson said that a masterplan will be submitted for planning by the beginning of next year and that he wants to see 'real evidence that the Elephant & Castle is changing' within two years. 'We don't want to go through a period of planning blight, ' he said.

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