Some new research has been published claiming that Elephant and Castle will become a top retail destination in the next 10 years.
Now, we're as optimistic as the next blog, as demonstrated by our views on the 2012 Olympic logo. But, even for us, this seems quite a stretch.
While the odd stall outside the shopping centre adds a bit of character to the place, the centre itself is a bit of a dive at the best of times. It was plonked in E&C as a way of attracting visitors and business. It failed - and the gloomy outlook is demonstrated with retailers there either signing short leases or leaving altogether.
The research ranks E&C shopping centre as currently 1,186th in the national table of retail centres. The prospect of redevelopment of the whole area will be crucial - new quality affordable housing must be a priority, as is demolishing the terrifying underpass/roundabout area by putting the roads and cars underground rather than forcing people and life down into the dark. The £400m project to achieve all this is impressive-looking, but its dates have repeatedly slipped (and under different political control of the council) so don't expect anything soon.
In any case, this doesn't sort out the shopping centre. Expecting the centre to rise to 113th in the table by 2017 without doing much to it is a major error. Southwark Council is proudly telling the press that the centre will become "a jewel in London's crown", but they don't plan to rebuild it - instead pledging vaguely to "work hard" to make it "more vibrant and exiciting".
After the Mayor of London used his Labour conference speech to slam Southwark Council's approach to housing and planning, perhaps he could intervene here too? He could start by getting them to look again at the shopping centre and what to do with it, with a more radical approach in mind than just spinning a bit of research.
PLEASE NOTE - CORRECTION BELOW IN THE COMMENTS
Image taken from Nicobobinus' Flickrstream