Campaigners seek High Court judicial review to overturn permission for Elephant & Castle demolition

A coalition of local people and groups fighting for a “fairer regeneration” have applied to the High Court to overturn the planning approval for the redevelopment of the Elephant & Castle shopping centre.
The application for a judicial review argues that Southwark were misled by shopping centre
owner and developer Delancey about the amount of the social rented housing
that could be provided.
If the challenge is successful it would mean that the approval, awarded to Delancey by Southwark Council, would be quashed, stopping the demolition and redevelopment of the centre.
A decision on the first stage of the challenge is expected in two or three weeks.
The action is being mounted because while Delancey will be making a £153m
projected profit, their scheme will destroy and displace the local community –
* Most traders won’t get a place in the new development
* There is no certainty over the future of the bingo
* The campaigners say Delancey may not provide any social rented housing in this new luxury
development – and there still is not enough of it.
A crowdfunding appeal has been launched to help fund the challenge
destruction. This follows two successful fundraisers, at Distriandina Colombian
Restaurant and Night Club Café and a film-night at Draper Tenants and Residents Association hall.
Distriandina believes that the decision made by Southwark Council to approve
Delancey’s Elephant & Castle Town Centre development scheme will cause
irreparable damage to London’s Latin American community. Two of London’s
most important Latin American music and dance venues will be demolished by
this scheme, as well as countless other Latin American restaurants, coffee
shops and stores. 
Jerry Flynn of Up the Elephant and the 35% Campaign said: “Delancey said it could only afford to provide 116 social rented units, out of a thousand new homes – we now know that with Mayor’s funding they could give us another 42. That’s 42 families deprived of somewhere decent and affordable to live.
“Even the 116 social rented homes promised could be at risk; the devil is in the
detail and Delancey has managed to pull the wool over the council’s eyes with
a deal which could leave us with little or no social rented housing if Delancey
doesn’t deliver the ‘West site’, not due to be built for another 10 years.”
Tanya Murat from Southwark Defend Council Housing said: “The Elephant’s regeneration was supposed to deliver jobs and homes for local people, but is doing the exact opposite – there will not be enough social rented homes and most of our shopping centre traders will not be getting a place in the new development.
“Our campaigning has forced developers Delancey to improve their social
cleansing plans for the shopping centre, but the scheme is still designed for a
population that Delancey want to attract to the area, rather than for people
already here.
“We want the permission quashed and then we want a development scheme
that provides homes and shops that are truly affordable for local people.”
Distriandina, the Colombian Bar and Restaurant, which is home to one of London’s oldest Latin American music and dance venues, as well as a restaurant, coffee shop and bakery, will be one of the businesses which will be forced to close as a result of the development.
Campaigners say the relocation options which have been offered to Distriandina will lead to a significant decrease in the size of its business, as well as the potential permanent closure of its music and dance venue, something which would be hugely damaging due to its role as
an important cultural institution for London’s Latin American community. 
Distriandina believes that any development scheme in Elephant & Castle should seek to mitigate the impact on the existing community as much as possible. As it currently stands, this development scheme fails to do this, due to its limited relocation fund for traders, lack of suitable relocation options for larger traders and complete disregard for the Latin American cultural institutions in
Elephant & Castle, such as Distriandin’s music and dance venue.
Planning approval was given for the demolition and redevelopment of the
shopping centre to the owners Delancey on 10 July 2018, two years after it was
submitted in Oct 2016. The application generated over a thousand comments, most objections, and was deferred on three occasions.
The mixed-use development is in partnership with the University of the Arts London and will occupy two sites, including the current London College of Communication as well as the shopping centre, both to be demolished. The LCC will get a new campus.
There will be 979 new Build to Rent homes – 330 will be “affordable”, but only
116 will be social rent. There will be about the same amount of retail
floorspace as at present.
A spokesperson from Delancey said: “We are disappointed the process which led to the granting of planning consent has been challenged. It is now likely the timeline for starting on site will be pushed back which is likely to have a direct impact on a significant number of the existing businesses located in the shopping centre, who were hoping for stability and certainty in order to plan for their future.
“We remain committed to creating a thriving town centre in Elephant and Castle, and are confident about the significant benefits that the redevelopment would bring to the area, both now and in the future. We will consider our next steps as we await the outcome of the judicial review process.”

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