A housing campaigner has won permission to take his bid to block a £1billion development to the Court of Appeal.
Jerry Flynn of Up The Elephant is trying to reverse the decision to allow Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre to be demolished and 1,000 flats to be built on the site.
An evening of film and a photographic exhibition has been organised on Friday 13th March to raise money for the appeal and a CrowdJustice appeal for funds has been mounted, to support the challenge.
The planning approval was granted by Southwark council to shopping centre owner and developer Delancey, for the centre’s demolition and redevelopment.
The High Court challenge was brought after a three-year campaign which has tried to ensure there is more social and affordable housing in the new complex and that the current shopping centre traders are not turfed out.
Their protests brought together housing campaigners, students, tenants’ groups, local councillors and trade unionists in the fight for more social rented housing and a better deal for traders, displaced by the proposed development.
They now want to reverse the decision not to quash the planning approval, made by Mr Justice Dove, after a two-day judicial review hearing in the Planning Court in October.
Since the High Court decision campaigners and traders have continued the struggle for a better deal for the many traders who have not been properly relocated. As a result, Southwark Council recently pledged an additional £200,000 to help the traders. Delancey has announced the closure of the shopping centre at the end of July
Flynn said: ‘We were naturally disappointed that the High Court did not find in our favour. But we believe, that this development is much too important not to do everything we can to get more social rented housing and a better deal for the traders, so we decided to go to appeal.
“We have had fantastic support from everyone in the local community and we will be building on that as we continue our battle.”
Tanya Murat, of Southwark Defend Council Housing, who support the campaign, said: “Only about half of the traders have new premises and even those are often small and unsuitable. Our campaign has managed to achieve a better deal for traders and the local community but the development is still not good enough. It isn’t the role of a Labour Council to enable social and ethnic cleansing.”
Paul Heron, solicitor from the Public Interest Law Centre said: “Along with our client and local campaigners we are disappointed by this judgement. In our view the Court in this judgement has been far too forgiving of the advice that officers provided to the councillors which led to planning permission being granted. We are confident that we have a robust case for our challenge to the Court of Appeal.”
Delancey has changed its application as a result of the protests to
- increase social rented housing from 33 units, owned and managed by the developer, to 116 proper social rented units, owned and managed by the council or housing association
- provide affordable retail space
- create a traders’ panel
- provide temporary traders’ premises on Castle Square
- create a trader relocation fund of £634,700
- offer 15-year affordable retail leases to be held at 75 per cent of market from years six to 15
- a change to the “section 106” legal agreement, to increase the amount of social rented housing
Delancey have permission to build nearly a thousand new homes, but only 116 will be social rent and they will not be provided for nearly 10 years. Up the Elephant say there could be, and should be, more social housing.
The demolition of the centre will displace the independent traders there, half of whom have been allocated no space in Delancey and Southwark’s relocation plans. Many of the traders are from black and ehnic minority backgrounds and the Elephant’s Latin-American community fear that the development will destroy a social hub that attracts compatriots from across London.
A spokesperson for Delancey said: “We are committed to creating a thriving town centre in Elephant and Castle, and are confident about the significant benefits the redevelopment will bring to the area, both now and in the future.
“We continue to work closely with independent traders at the existing shopping centre to support business’ plans for relocation and this includes the building of the retail space on Castle Square that has now commenced. This will be the new home for many of the shops and cafes from the Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre, including Ana Castro, Magic Carpet, Original Caribbean Spice and Raw Fashion when the shopping centre closes and during the planned redevelopment of the town centre, and we’re delighted that well-known, local traders are looking forward to the next chapter for their businesses at Castle Square.
“As part of this process, we have confirmed the last day of trade and closure of the shopping centre will be Thursday 30 July 2020. With this much needed certainty, the independent traders are able to finalise details of their relocation and progress can continue for those traders still working through their plans.
“We will continue to keep the community updated on the construction of the new Elephant and Castle Town Centre as we progress with our plans for redevelopment.”
The hearing was a ‘rolled-up’ hearing, which means that both the decision on permission to apply for a judicial review and the case itself were dealt with together.
The order for the hearing noted that the application was “…one of those exceptional cases where the public interest in the issue which the claimant raises is such that if permission is refused this should occur after a hearing.”
Campaigners have raised more than £7,500 through crowdfunding to support the case.
Planning approval was given for the demolition and redevelopment of the shopping centre to the owners Delancey on 10 July 2018, two years after it was submitted in Oct 2016. The application generated over a thousand objections, and was deferred on three occasions.
The mixed-use development is in partnership with the University of the Arts London and will occupy two sites, including the current London College of Communication (LCC) as well as the shopping centre, both to be demolished. The LCC will get a new campus and there will be a new Northern Line tube
There will be 979 new Build to Rent homes – 330 will be “affordable”, but only 116 will be social rent. There will be about the same amount of retail floorspace as at present.
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