It's a question of when, not if. Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre is for the chop. And whether you rightly love it — or very wrongly hate it — the area will never be the same again. Here are six things that'll happen.
1. Palace Superbowl is demolished with a massive bowling ball on a chain
Surely something Southwark Council can get under Section 106? For many, the shopping centre's sticky, rickety Palace Superbowl will be the thing they miss most. It's only fitting that this place goes out with the ultimate strike. Maybe they can find the bowling alley's top scorer of all time, and give them the honours.
2. The people who installed those bubblegum and soft toy vending machines finally count up their earnings
We have never ever ever ever seen anyone put a coin into one of these machines. Ever. Our estimate for total money accrued in just over half a century... £4.32? Some of that may be in old money, mind.
3. Michael Caine gets very lost
The Alfie actor told us that when he visited his former home of Elephant and Castle in 2017, he barely recognised it. At least he'll have been familiar with the shopping centre, which opened in 1965 — the same time Caine's acting career was skyrocketing. But when that's gone, there'll be very little of Maurice Micklewhite's Elephant left. Don't be surprised if an elderly cockney bloke pulls up in a Mini Cooper, to ask for directions.
4. The Elephant and Castle sculpture ends up in the Museum of London...
...Where it stands proudly yet solemnly behind glass — a remnant of pre-gentrification south London. Some kids ask why the elephant's red. Others ask why it's got an actual castle on its back. No one is really sure. People quickly move on to gawp at the Fatberg.
5. They build an ironic, identical pop-up version of Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre in its place
It's got bowling for hipsters. Great Colombian food. An alternative outdoor market. Random bubblegum machines. Hell, it's the coolest place for miles around. Of course, everything at the Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre identical ironic hipster pop-up costs three times as much. It wasn't cheap to build.
6. People are finally able to find Elephant and Castle train station
Not everything about the shopping centre's demise might be negative. It seems its architects took perverse pride in doubling up the mall up into an Escher-esque labyrinth, designed to baffle commuters on their way to the train station, to the point they end up weeping in a crumpled heap, outside Jenny's greasy spoon. Heck, let's bulldoze the bastard now.