Elephant and Castle regeneration praised

By Natalie Vincent - Wed 6 December 2017, 1:58 pm

Stakeholders involved with the regeneration of Elephant and Castle joined Southwark Council in celebrating the completion of the residential elements at St Mary's Quarter during the launch of Southwark magazine's 18th issue.

Left to right: Southwark Council leader Peter John; Southwark Playhouse director Chris Smyrnios; Lendlease project director Rob Heasman all spoke at the launch event on 5 December

Held on 5 December at One the Elephant – a residential tower developed by Lendlease at the site – 90 attendees including members of the council, developers and consultants came to hear about opportunities to get involved with regeneration in Southwark. 

The magazine focuses on how the scheme came together and the borough's ongoing regeneration and cultural developments.

Southwark Council leader Peter John praised the changes made to Elephant and Castle: "For 20 years it [Elephant and Castle] has been the subject of a regeneration scheme, and many of you would have been involved over that period of time.

"I think that, as you walk around now, it really looks and feels different – there are still some missing bits to the jigsaw, but I think it’s a great success story, and one that we should be proud of.

"For me, the of Elephant and Castle regeneration really exemplifies what you can do to improve people's living conditions within the existing constraints."

Other keynote speakers at the event were Lendlease project director Rob Heasman, Southwark Playhouse theatre's artistic director Chris Smyrnios and Southwark Council's director of regeneration, Steve Platts. 

Chris Smyrnios, director of the award-winning Southwark Playhouse, described the theatre's close links to the borough: "In its own way, Southwark Playhouse has been at the vanguard of the regeneration of the north of Southwark; we began operating a good few years before the opening of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in 1997, the Jubilee line in 1999 and the Tate Modern in 2000."

Highlighting its sites at London Bridge arches and on Southwark Bridge Road, Smyrnios spoke about the theatre's 125-year lease agreement at a new performance space in St Mary's Quarter, providing a more permanent home for the organisation which has often moved premises due to short leases and rising rents.

"Practical completion is about to take place in the next couple of weeks, and I am very thankful to the Greater London Authority and [developer] Mace who have supported and listened to us throughout the development process, in order to create what will be a wonderful new theatre building."

Rob Heasman of developer Lendlease outlined his work with the council and gave background to its work in the borough, while encouraging more stakeholders to invest in Southwark magazine: "My role in the [regeneration] project is to keep it going; Peter [John] is my number one customer for these 15-year projects.

"To get onward investment, look at the magazine, which will go out and encourage more [investment]; it can only be a good thing."

Read issue 18 of Southwark