Further Elephant And Castle Plans Revealed

By SamF Last edited 75 months ago
Further Elephant And Castle Plans Revealed

After last month's unveiling of the ‘master plan’ for the Heygate Estate regeneration, the residents of Elephant and Castle have been offered a further insight into plans for the entire area.

Yesterday architects Squire & Partners revealed their plans for the central concourse of Elephant and Castle at an exhibition in the area. These plans include a high-rise tower extending between 32 and 37 stories and a leisure centre consisting of a swimming pool, badminton courts and a gym.

The development will not be offering any ‘affordable housing’ in what a spokesman for Southwark Council described as ‘an exception to normal policy’, but the council has assured residents that the 35% affordable housing target for the regeneration will be met by completion in the late 2020s. There is concern however among local community groups about the inconsistencies in Southwark’s assurances. In 2006 the Official Southwark Council Regeneration Magazine stated:

“The Council asks that all new residential schemes have a 35% affordable provision, and in premium sites- such as Elephant and Castle-that figure rises to at least 40%”

Many concerns have been raised over the number of legitimately ‘affordable’ units in the regeneration. The official definition of the word ‘affordable’ was recently altered, effectively raising rents in affected housing by up to 300%. This, however, is the first time in this regeneration programme that a development has entirely forgone its obligation to provide low-income housing. Southwark Council insist it is necessary in order to provide the funding needed for the extensive leisure complex detailed in the plans.

Photo by Squire and Partners.

Last Updated 25 March 2012

London SE1

The current exhibition is not about the redevelopment of the shopping centre - only the leisure centre on the other side of the road.

And Squire and Partners are the architects, not the developers.


This project has nothing to do with the shopping centre. It's only the results of a deal between the council and the developers Lend Lease. The current leisure centre is falling to bits and the swimming pool on the site has been closed for over 15 years. The council has sold half of the plot of land to Lend Lease, forswearing affordable housing on the new development to use the money to rebuild the leisure centre at the back of the current site. The tower will have 8 flats per floor (1 and 2 beds), 36 floors with at most 5 penthouses at the top (though that's not definite it seems). There will be shops and flats on the low rise part of the development facing the main road (incl. 3 bed flats). I went to the consultation event yesterday. More info at www.elephantandcastle.org.uk


The leisure centre will be built on 3 levels organised in a spiral with a central "courtyard". Ground floor will have a 6 lane swimming pool, a learner pool, changing area, a crèche, a cafe. Second level is for the gym (with changing rooms) and the top level is for a 4 court sports hall.

Sam Frankl

Thanks for the extra info Zefrog and apologies about Squire and Partners. I linked in the source, but you are right, they're the architetcs.


As an aside to this story. I was down there this afternoon and it was a joy to see so many families out in the park using the play equipment in the sunshine. There is a real Latin American vibe there.


The 'Tribeca Square' development adjacent to the train station, which is due to start construction this year also contains ZERO affordable housing units..


The shortfall in affordable housing (particularly social rented) in this development is the rule for Elephant tower developments, not the exception.  As well as Tribeca Square having no affordable housing, Strata Tower has only 90 or so out of 400, none social rented.  The 360 Tower will also have only 30 or so social rented units out of 470, with a further 160 part-buy/part-let - if it ever gets built.  Eileen House was also planned to have zero social rented homes, out of 300 plus units,but mercifully the application was refused.


There does seem to be a problem with every scheme coming up with a good reason to be an exception to the 30% rule, be it leisure center, expensive basement works (Tribecca), commercial viability (Heygate) or cultural space (360).

Southwark have said at the regeneration forum that they expect to make this up over the length of the development to make the desired 35%, but I won't be suprised if that doesn't prove possible. It's worth bearing in mind that north Southwark is still >50% social rented housing.


The question becomes, why have a 35% policy if you allow it to be flouted each time an application is made?  Southwark hired BNP Paribas (no doubt at some expense) to establish a viable level of affordable housing for the area and it was they who arrived at 35%.  Either they got it wrong or Southwark is too easily convinced by developers pleading poverty.
As can be imagined, Southwark hasn't used reducing the proportion of social rented housing as a selling point of the regeneration, at least not in what it says to local people, but that is the reality of the regeneration's progress.


Seems like Southwark council can conveniently change its tune whenever it feels like it - in 2006 their own magazine quotes Elephant and Castle as being what it regards as "premium" site therefore AT LEAST 40% of the new housing provision must be affordable.  So, six years on, they have climbed down from their own strategy of 40-plus percent to 35 percent - what will this figure be at the completion of the regeneration in the late 2020s???  As jerryflynn (above) asks - why have a xy% policy at all, if these "exceptions" become the norm?

Fleur - What House?

There needs to be consistently across the piece, it cannot change from development to development. A forecast is a forecast and if the number of units for affordable housing are not being met, then where is the affordable housing stock going to come from? I think this raises more questions about how an affordable housing quota is going to be met.  By 2020 there will be even more of a need for good quality, affordable housing, so every single development that is approved needs to have affordable housing integrated into it.


I live in Elephant as a student. The roundabout in particular is absolutely vile - it has a threatening atmosphere, particularly the shopping centre and the 'market' just outside it, is aesthetically nasty and the people who live there have no interest in improving the area. I think the new plans are excellent as Elephant should be an unbelievably desirable place to live given its proximity to central London and as a major transport hub. I think that the residents themselves are to blame and given that it is a very poor area with majority of housing being council, I don't believe there is any need at all for more social housing. That would be a massive hinderance to the area that would significantly halt its development.