Work has begun in pulling down a 55-year-old landmark shopping centre.
Keltbray, the civil engineering group, said the phased demolition of the Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre, will make way for a new £1billion town centre.
Keltbray has started to install permanent hoarding and scaffolding, and a strip-out of the building from the inside.
The first phase of building will be low-rise structures to the north of the site facing New Kent Road.
A spokesman for the company said: “The approach has been carefully planned to ensure noise, disruption and dust is kept to a minimum.”
Demolition is due to continue until the summer of 2021. Construction of the new town centre is expected to start in 2021.
The Elephant statue will be restored and relocated at Castle Square during construction. It will then move to a space in the new town centre when the project is finished.
Other pieces of signage and artefacts from the shopping centre are being retained and are also expected to be given a new home.
A spokeswoman for Elephant and Castle town centre said: “The regeneration and the future of the town centre has been discussed for many years, so it is encouraging to see it moving forward.”
The first phase of the new town centre, which will take five years to complete across 2.5 acres will include a new Northern line station that is “future-proofed for the Bakerloo line extension with significantly enhanced capacity”.
It will also have a new building for London College of Communication, and a centre for the University of the Arts London’s core university services.
Holly Price, skills and communities director at Keltbray, said: “We’re keen to ensure the local community and stakeholders are well informed of our plans. To communicate this, we will be hosting regular engagement sessions which will be open for people to attend. We’ll also be distributing regular newsletters.
“As part of our commitment to the community, we will be offering employment opportunities to people living in the local area. During the demolition phase we have explored ways to provide new roles to local people and are pleased to offer vacancies including demolition labourers, welfare officers, traffic marshals and site administrators.
“We have also secured funding to deliver training – making it an excellent opportunity for those who are looking for a role within the local area.
“This is part of our commitment to the wider community.”
The next community meeting is on November 3 – sign up by emaiing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictured top: Demolition of the Elephant and Castle shopping centre started this week. PHOTO: Viktorie Brezinova
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