Menu

FAQ

Q: What is the Community Engagement Unit? What is it for?

A: The Community Engagement Unit provides locals a space to meet with representatives of the Elephant and Castle regeneration project team to discuss issues raised regarding the previously submitted proposal and to discuss the new updated offer. We are showcasing details of the redevelopment, including revisions made to the proposals in the centre alongside CGIs and a model of the proposed new town centre.

The Community Engagement Centre is located in units 215/216 on the upper level of the shopping centre directly opposite Cafe Nova.

Q: Who are the representatives of the project team?

A: The rota will include a selection of people from across the project team, including representatives from Delancey, UAL, architects, planning consultants and transport advisors, so a real cross section.

Q: What are the opening hours?

A: The Community Engagement Centre will be open from 12 - 3pm, Monday to Friday with later opening hours of 12 - 6pm on Wednesdays.

Q: Is this just for shopping centre retailers?

A: The Community Engagement Centre is not just for shopping centre retailers but for the whole local community to come and talk to the Elephant & Castle project team, to discuss the revisions made to the Elephant & Castle town centre proposals.

Q: Who will be managing it?

A: Members of the Elephant & Castle Town Centre Regeneration Project team will be managing the Community Engagement Centre.

Q: Is there an opportunity to meet with the Elephant and Castle regeneration project team in the Community Engagement Centre?

A: Absolutely. Each day the Centre is run by at least two members of the project team who will be able to alleviate local concerns and provide further information on the revisions to the Elephant and Castle town centre proposals.

Q: What is the purpose of the unit, will views be listened to or is it just a talking shop?

A: The purpose of the unit is to explain the revisions made to the proposals for the redevelopment of Elephant and Castle town centre and to listen to feedback given. There are feedback forms available in the unit for people to fill out. Each one will be read and collated in a report and submitted to the Council.

Q: How else can I give feedback on the proposals?

A: We welcome all feedback and have a dedicated email address set up for this – please email info@elephantandcastletowncentre.co.uk

Q: I have heard there will be a Spanish speaker in the unit is this true?

A: Yes. There is a Spanish speaker who will be based in the unit at certain times of the day. If you come to the unit and there is not a Spanish speaker present, please speak to one of the project team and they will be able to let you know when they will be available.

Q: What are the next steps for the new town centre application following the committee deferral?

A: Revisions have been submitted and a consultation process has been commenced. The consultation process will involve a continuation of our work with Cathedrals and East Walworth Ward Councillors, Southwark Borough Council and other interested local parties, to discuss the issues and concerns raised regarding the previously submitted proposal, and to carry out detailed discussions around the new updated offer.

Q: Why weren’t these conversations had before? Surely you should have consulted with all of these stakeholders beforehand?

A: Delancey undertook a four-year consultation process with the local community, involving two exhibitions attended by over 1,500 people, alongside numerous workshops and public drop-in sessions and subsequently made a series of changes to the application before submission in October 2016. Following the initial Planning Committee meeting on 16 January 2018, it became apparent that there were various issues that some members of the local community and Ward Councillors felt were left unresolved. There has subsequently been constructive dialogue around these issues and Delancey is committed to continuing these conversations to reach a mutually acceptable and positive conclusion for all, and a conclusion which delivers the new town centre and essential improvements to the transport, education and housing provision for Elephant & Castle, that 90% of those we previously consulted with said they supported.

Q: What are the issues you are looking at?

A: Three main elements continue to be discussed:

  • Social rented housing. Since the last planning committee we have: Remained committed to ensuring the first priority will be given to those living and working in Southwark. Dedicated to all the social housing being owned and managed by Southwark Council or a specialist Registered Provider. We have achieved and increase of social housing from 33 to 116 through a grant funding subsidy from the GLA who are in full support of the scheme and the benifits it would bring to the area in terms of new housing, leisure and transport.
  • Traders and Latin Quarter. There are three initiatives that we are seeking to deliver with regards to the traders and Latin Quarter. The first of which is a detailed planning application will be submitted for additional temporary retail space at Castle Square. This will be designed sympathetically with the surrounding properties and will add to the local retail offer whilst the shopping centre is redeveloped. These units will be offered in priority to independent retailers currently within the shopping centre and all at affordable rents. The additional temporary retail space will remain open and trading until the east site of the new town centre is completed. We also have seven retail units in the Elephant 1 development at 50 New Kent Road which have been reserved for independent traders in the shopping centre and will be available as affordable retails units. Additionally we wish to set out a clearer vision for the flexible commercial space that is proposed on the west site on the reinstated Pastor Street. This location will offer a vibrant retail environment with discounted rents. A multi- lingual community engagement representative is also being employed and located in shopping centre to actively assist this relocation process.
  • Bingo and leisure. Delancey has made significant progress in discussions regarding the re-provision of a bingo operation within the locality We will give first refusal to a bingo operator to lease 20,000 sq ft of leisure space within the scheme which could accommodate circa 1,000 seats depending upon the precise operator.

Q: Are these changes being made to the planning application, or just being pushed through as part of the S106?

A: These changes are being made to the planning application and will have a significant impact on any S106 legal agreements.

Q: Do these changes mean the scheme is no longer viable?

A: Whilst there remains significant challenges to the overall viability of this project, our revised proposals have included a number of value adding adjustments, in particular a consolidation of the lower discount bands, to compensate in part for the increased social housing subsidy alongside a removal of the rental tenure 20 year restrictive covenant on the west site.

We have increased the tenure restriction from 20 years on the East site to 30 years.

Q: What will you do if Southwark do not approve the revised application?

A: We are focussed on the next phase of consultation to the next planning committee date. There is a natural urgency to seek resolution and a need for all parties to be provided with certainty. We believe our revised proposals respond positively to all concerns raised and have been very careful to obtain planning officers’ clear endorsement of the proposals.

Q: The issues you are currently reviewing have always been under scrutiny. Why are you only addressing them now?

A: Listening to further feedback from these productive preliminary meetings with a number of Ward Councillors, Southwark Council and key local stakeholders, and having read the draft reasons for refusal and the planning officer’s commentary recently published, Delancey and London College of Communication, UAL, believe there are positive resolutions to address the issues and concerns raised by the Councillors and some of the key local community stakeholders. In light of the above, we suggested (and the planning committee agreed) that the final consideration of the planning application be deferred to later in the year in order to give every opportunity for the key concerns to be addressed and for these discussions to reach a mutually acceptable, positive conclusion for all.

Q: Why didn’t you do more to consult before this?

A: Over the last four years, Delancey has worked closely with the local community in and around Elephant and Castle to inform and influence its proposals. Two public exhibitions have been held which were attended by over 1,500 people, alongside numerous workshops, drop-in sessions and stakeholder meetings. 90% of people who engaged with us at the last consultation said they were in support of the proposals.

We believe we carried out a thorough consultation during this time period, but nevertheless, we have taken on board the views of the Ward Councillors and some of the local stakeholders, and we hope we will be moving conversations forward in order to reach a mutually acceptable and positive conclusion for all.

Q: How are you going to be more engaged now, and what will this consultation entail?

A: A consultation has commenced. We will be holding meetings with local community groups and key local stakeholders alongside the Ward Councillors and Southwark Council and other interested parties including shopping centre tenants and local residents to reach a mutually acceptable and positive conclusion for all.

We have also appointed a bi-lingual community engagement person who will be based in the Community Engagement Centre in the shopping centre.

Q: You have faced continued accusations of social cleansing. Surely housing all social tenants in one block further exacerbates these concerns?

A: In order for us to provide more housing at social rented levels, we are required to put all of these units in one place. This is to do with the required unit sizes most typically required at this level – family sized homes as opposed to smaller units. If residential units remain tenure blind, we will then be unable to increase the provision of this social housing type.

Q: What are you doing to address the parking issues raised at committee?

A: The proposals have been worked through in great detail with TFL and provide a robust sustainable highways solution in this very busy and rapidly changing zone 1 location. As part of this, we have agreed to fund a study on the impact of the existing CPZ (Controlled Parking Zone) from the regeneration of the wider Elephant area in order that the highways authorities can plan for the future.

Q: We see that you have increased the covenant to 30 years. What does this actually mean?

A: Simply that the rental tenure of the east site will be retained for the very long term and will be for rent and not for sale. This is fully aligned to our long term investment strategy for this site and has been factored into the viability appraisal.

Q: If you increase the provision of social housing, will you be in line with current and draft policy?

A: The current proposals remain in accordance with existing and emerging policy at the time of submitting the planning application, having been through a full independent viability review. This was the clear conclusion of planning officers. The further changes proposed reorder the numbers of Social rented and London Living rent properties, however, it remains policy compliant.

Q: Does this mean we aren’t having a cinema anymore?

A: This does not mean we are not having a cinema. There could still be a cinema located within the new town centre.

Q: How much rent will you charge for the retail space on Castle Square?

A: These units will have rents that are in keeping with the temporary nature of the units. The rents will not be discounted to the definition of affordable rents as in the SPD. (Southwark Plan)

Q: What is the affordable rent level in the borough?

A: The affordable rent in the borough is a percentage of market rent calculated by the Council which differs as the market fluctuates. All independent retailers in the shopping centre will be able to apply for affordable rental units.

Q: Are you actually changing anything to your offer on Pastor Street? Will it still just be 10% rented at affordable levels?

A: We are not changing anything to our offer on Pastor Street. We have always offered 10% on the East Site. Our application on the West site is also for 10% affordable retail space.

Q: How are you going to communicate the wider affordable retail offer?

A: We will be holding regular meetings with tenants, taking tenants on tours of the affordable units on Elephant Road and holding meetings with Lendlease to make sure tenants know exactly what is on offer to them.

Delancey has also appointed a full time community engagement person who will be based in the Community Engagement Centre in the shopping centre to discuss and communicate options with existing tenants.
Most particularly around details of all of the different location options for affordable retail units (Elephant 1, Castle Square, Elephant Park, Perronet House) including rental levels and size of units.

Q: What is happening in terms of discussions with Patrick Duffy and Palatial Leisure?

A: We have made significant progress in discussions with Palatial Leisure to lead the relocation of existing bingo within the locality by March 2019. Leisure space on the Western site is now to be offered in priority to a commercial bingo operation.

Q: You say you will prioritise a bingo use. How will you actually do this?

A: We are prepared to offer a proportion of the 50,000 sq ft leisure use, in first priority, to a bingo operator. It may be relevant to consider some or all of the space labelled music venue on the west site for bingo.