Southwark Council has dealt a major blow to Allies and Morrison’s plans to demolish Elephant and Castle shopping centre and replace it with almost 1,000 homes, as well as shops and offices
The south London council’s planning committee last night (16 January) voted narrowly against a motion to accept the proposals at a meeting that lasted for almost eight hours.
Planning officers had recommended approval of the controversial scheme, backed by developer Delancey and revised by the architects last summer.
The proposals would have seen a 35-storey tower created alongside other buildings. The phased, mixed-use redevelopment would have provided 18,234m2 of retail space, 2,806m2 of business facilities and 41,405m2 of other institutions including a new home for the London College of Communication.
But concerns were voiced over the levels of affordable housing and affordable retail space available in the proposed buildings.
Labour councillor Rebecca Lury tweeted last night that she was ‘delighted’ with the decision, adding: ‘This scheme was inadequate from the start.’
It is understood the plans have not been formally rejected, and another meeting - including a fresh vote - will be held by councillors on 30 January, giving the developer a chance to offer changes to the plans to swing the decision back in its favour.
Councilllor Mark Williams said: ’We understand the strong feelings of many local people, particularly regarding affordable housing and business space, as these are priorities that the council shares. We remain committed to finding a solution for a new shopping centre and home for UAL’s London College of Communication that works for everyone.’
A Delancey spokesperson said the developer remained proud of the ’ambitious, innovative’ proposals submitted, which they said offered ’great benefits for a wide range of people who want to live, work and learn at The Elephant’.
The spokesperson added: ’We have consulted widely and over 90 per cent of people who took their valuable time to engage with us were in favour of the proposals.
’The proposals include desperately needed new transport; retention of London College of Communication at Elephant and Castle; 1,000 new homes where none currently exist, with 35 per cent of these subsidised to an average of 50 per cent of market rents.
’These homes will respond to the needs of many working Londoners with household incomes that currently make Zone 1 housing unaffordable. Of course there is a wider issue around social housing. But Elephant and Castle town centre cannot answer all of these issues alone and remain financially viable at the same time, as concluded by the council’s own independent expert.’
Allies and Morrison declined to comment.