Over 40 traders in Elephant and Castle are waiting to be relocated as Southwark Council and property company Delancey move forward with their plans to close the shopping centre on the 24th September 2020. The shopping centre is part of a major development which will see the mall demolished to make way for 979 new flats, a new shopping centre, entrance to the underground and a building for the London College of Communication.
The site, currently home to a large community of local traders, many of which are Latin American, migrant and ethnic businesses, was sold to real estate and investment company, Delancey, in 2013 for £80 million.
Following three deferrals, planning permission was granted in July 2018. A condition of the planning permission is to provide offers of relocation to all eligible traders. Charity, Latin Elephant, and local group, Up the Elephant, report that more than 40 local traders still have no relocation space.
Showing the anatomy of dispossession at #ElephantandCastle
48 traders removed
Eviction day 24 Sept
— Up the Elephant 🌍 (@UpTheElephant_) September 7, 2020
Campaigners argue the development will be a massive blow to the local community. According to Latin Elephant, there are 150 Latin, migrant and ethnic businesses in Elephant and Caste and Latin Americans make up 8.9% of the population of Southwark.
Latin Elephant, in consultation with local traders, have presented their own proposal for an alternative premise to Southwark councillors, cabinet members the London Assembly and Mayor or London.
Similar campaigns were seen in 2019, when a group of traders failed in their challenge to a compulsory purchase order of a market in Seven Sisters, known as the Latin Village, for demolition and redevelopment (as reported on the Justice Gap here).
Local community groups have also criticised the plans for a lack of social houses. Of the 997 new flats which are to be build, only 116 will be at social rents. In January 2020, local groups lost a High Court Challenge that the plans fell short of targets provided by Southwark Council and the Mayor of London for provisions of social housing.
A list and stories of long-standing traders who are waiting for relocation offers can be found on Latin Elephant website.