Revised plans to demolish and redevelop Elephant and Castle's shopping centre were narrowly approved by Southwark Council's planning committee last night, by four to three votes (with one abstention), subject to a section 106 agreement.
The scheme, spearheaded by real estate investment firm Delancey, features 979 homes with 35% earmarked as affordable housing, including 116 social rented homes managed by Southwark Council or another housing provider. The plan also includes a new campus for London College of Communication to enable it to stay in the area and improvements to both the heavily congested Northern Line station and nearby National Rail station.
New leisure facilities such as space for a cinema, a new live music venue and a replacement bingo hall, have also been outlined.
Johnson Situ, cabinet member for development, growth and planning, said: "This is a complex scheme that will create a vibrant, new town centre, which is a key part of the wider regeneration of Elephant and Castle bringing new homes, jobs and opportunities to the area. Investment in the area is essential to bring forward these benefits.
"The council has been pushing hard for the best possible outcome for local people and particularly the local businesses that will have to move out of the centre and find affordable retail space in the surrounding area; we recognise the concerns raised by some local residents about aspects of the regeneration, and I would like to assure them, and the whole community, that we will continue to work with our residents, businesses and Delancey to ensure the new development works for local people."
The revised plan by Delancey agreed that 10% of the retail space across the sites will be affordable, with the firm providing a £634,000 tenant relocation fund to support traders, with the council consulting the affected parties.
Affordable retail at Perronet House and Arch Street will be provided by the council, in addition to the affordable space already being provided by Lendlease and Delancey's phase one developments.
Stafford Lancaster, investment director at Delancey said: "We know that the task we face going forward in delivering this project, in an inclusive and positive manner, is huge. We want to ensure all parties that we take our responsibility extremely seriously and know our reputation in Elephant and Castle will need to be hard earned in the long-run. We remain open to debate and embrace the next stages with great optimism about what can be achieved for all."
The shopping centre proposal will also require sign-off by City Hall and a separate decision by government following an application by Historic England for potential listed status, submitted earlier this week. Activists and critical councillors have vowed to continue pressing for a stronger deal for affected residents and traders, going forward.
"We've already surpassed one degree of global warming," said Kristen Buida, manager of the London Climate Change Partnership.