Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre is due to close this summer — but a local group has vowed it will continue to fight to save it.
London SE1 reports that Delancey, the developer which is planning to bulldoze the 1960s shopping centre and build housing, amenities and a new shopping centre on the site, says that trading will cease at the shopping centre on 30 July 2020. This comes following a High Court ruling, which judged that the redevelopment could go ahead.
Many businesses — including Tesco and Polish restaurant Mamushka! — have already departed Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre, whose future has been in the balance for over a decade. While Delancey is promising it is 'working very closely with independent traders to support plans for relocation,' community group Up the Elephant is skeptical of the developer's regeneration plans, and good intentions. Among its accusations are that Delancey is not providing as much affordable housing as it should; that only 10% of retail space in the new shopping centre will be affordable; and that the developer hasn't been paying the tax that it should.
There are further concerns that the upheaval will be detrimental to the area's large Colombian and South American population.
Delancey told Londonist:
We continue to work very closely with independent traders at the existing shopping centre to support businesses plans for relocation and this includes the building of the retail space on Castle Square that has now commenced.
The redevelopment will [provide] 979 new homes (including 35% affordable housing)... In addition, the redevelopment will include a cutting-edge new building for London College of Communication, UAL and a centre for UAL's core university services... alongside around 175,000 sq ft of new leisure facilities, shops, cafes and restaurants.
The developer didn't comment on its alleged use of tax havens including Bermuda, Panama and the British Virgin Islands.
Up the Elephant is appealing the High Court ruling, and is planning a protest against the redevelopment, at a Southwark Council assembly meeting on 28 January.
Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre marks its 55th birthday in March. Europe's first covered shopping mall, it was painted bright pink in the 1980s in a bid to spruce it up. It's faced widespread criticism for its 'ugliness', but retains a cult status among those who love(d) its bingo, bowling and international cuisine.