Photo: Heygate Estate and Strata by gazkinz
The contract, worth £1.5bn, will see large parts of the area, including the Heygate estate and the shopping centre, torn down and replaced by a series of developments comprising 5,300 new homes, shops, offices, and parks. The existing gyratory will be re-routed, with the southern roundabout removed entirely, and new public spaces created, in the hope of, as Southwark councillor Peter John, "[creating] a new and exciting destination for London". Presumably it won't be long before hoardings advertising "Elephant & Castle Quarter", or ECQ, go up around SE1.
The project to redevelop the area has been stalled for some years, as testified by the posters still up on the Old Kent Road advertising new flats due to complete in 2007. Original plans for a cluster of tall buildings were rejected last year, and the idea now is to create low-level "villages"; some of the proposed designs were unveiled last year. The one conspicuous exception, of course, is Strata, the 42-storey turbine-topped tower. Coincidentally, the first residents began moving into Strata earlier this week, so they'll have a good view of the ensuing development.
Those gentrifying pioneers longing for the house price swing that will no doubt accompany the area's upmarket pretensions may have to wait some time: the project is expected to take 15 years to complete.