D-Days for the Elephant: date set for two-day judicial review into Delancey plans for doomed shopping centre

A High Court bid to stop the redevelopment of South London’s most high profile hub will take place on Juky 17 and 18.

The legal challenge against Southwark Council’s approval of plans to demolish and redevelop the Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre took a step forward this week when the date was set for the judicial review hearing into the scheme.
The challenge focuses on the social rented housing in the mixed-use scheme.

Developer and shopping centre owner Delancey have permission to build nearly a thousand new homes, but only 116 will be social rent and they will not be provided for nearly 10 years.

Local campaign group Up the Elephant say there could be more social housing and that there is doubt that even the 116 units will be provided, even though Delancey have admitted they stand to make a profit of more than £153m on the £1billion scheme.

The High Court hearing will be ‘rolled-up’, which means that both the decision on permission to apply for a judicial review and the case itself, should it proceed, will be dealt with together. The order for the hearing noted that the application was “…one of those exceptional cases where the public interest in the issue which the claimant raises is such that if permission is refused this should occur after a hearing.”

The challenge is supported by the Public Interest Law Centre and Southwark Law Centre. Barristers for the challenge are Sarah Sackman of Francis Taylor Building and David Wolfe QC of Matrix Chambers.

The demolition of the centre will displace the independent traders there, with campaigners claiming half of them have not been allocated space in Delancey and Southwark’s relocation plans. Many of the traders are from Black and Ethnic Minority backgrounds and the Elephant’s Latin-American community fear that the development will destroy a social hub that attracts compatriots from across London.

A spokesperson from the Public Interest Law Centre said: “This case highlights the problem of big new developments just not providing enough social rented housing in parts of London where it is most desperately needed. Local people are putting Southwark council on notice that they must get the maximum amount of social housing from big developers like Delancey and not be bullied into settling for less.”

Jerry Flynn from the 35% Campaign said: “We are pleased that the case has taken a step forward. We have
raised over £7500 towards legal costs so far, through our CrowdJustice appeal. A legal fight is always long and costly, but we are determined to do everything we can to get social rented homes that we simply cannot afford to lose.”

Distriandina, the Colombian Bar and Restaurant said: “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
Distriandina’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 (ref 16/AP/4458).

The London College of Communication will get a new campus and there will be a new Northern Line tube entrance. 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 this month: “We are working with the traders to find suitable relocation options and are doing all we can to support with the process. Our main priority is finalising the offers so that we can give traders the certainty they need to plan for the future. As each tenant has its own individual needs, it’s important we work this through properly to ensure we can provide bespoke support. We are looking forward to updating the community once these conversations have been finalised with the traders.”

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