Elephant and Castle Regen Forum

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Thursday 26 May 2011 8.47pm
Just back from the event tonight and thought this warrants it's own thread.

Lots of things to digest, generally feel very positive about the heygate site proposals, good direction being taken on family housing, active frontages (shops and businesses) and a strong public space agenda throughout. Concerns from many present from wansley street on how the development will link with them (an unknown at the moment), but otherwise a good direction.

I felt Lendlease were making a good effort at the engagement and they detailed a long series of events and processes into the future, which will expand and include more members of the public. A request from lendlease that if your residents association or local group has not been in contact do email them at enquiries.elephantandcastle@lendlease.com.


Sadly that positive section contrastled horribly with really disappointing indications on the direction of the shopping centre, which as forewarned will be retained, expanded out to the footprint of the 'moat' and will have hi-rise housing built above. I had a good talk with the St Modens guy in attendance, and I'll likely write more on that, but they are intent on keeping the centre and keeping the floor heights as they are, making the masterplan's intensions of a natural flow up to the public square on the site of the roundabout impossible (in my humble and amateur opinion).

However, the public square on the site of the roundabout is now off the agenda, the TfL man in attendance relayed that the traffic modeling made peninsularisation, as planned previously, unacceptable to the Mayor as the traffic consequences would be too significant. They modled an roundabout with at level crossings, and found this also unacceptable. The current proposal is a roundabout with partial at grade crossings, and partial subways (which is what we have now). Any change to this falls to a change in Mayoral policy, as the 'smoothing the traffic flow' agenda trumps any other benefit (as we've been discovering at Blackfriars). There maybe hope on this point come May 2012, I'm going to write to Val and see what the Shawcross/Livingstone camp makes of it all.

I'll write more when I've reviewed my notes, but I'm pretty depressed about all this...
Thursday 26 May 2011 9.24pm
Further to the above:

Tim Seddon did presentation for St Modwen about their vision for the re-development of the shopping centre. He insisted it wasn't a refurbishment. Basically he repeated what is already known, saying that the planning process would probably not finish until 2014 in any case.

He promised more lifts, escalators and ramps and explained how they would like to expend the centre using the existing empty space around it. He said that SM did not feel brave enough (his words) in the
current economic climate to demolished a sound building, hence the new plans.

They showed us visuals of their vision and that wasn't really encouraging... pictures here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zefrog/tags/stmodwen/

In other news: there will be two public exhibitions of the masterplan for the Lend Lease scheme this year. one in June and on in November.

outline planning permission for the Heygate and detailed planning permission for Rodney place will be made in Spring 2012 while the one for the shopping centre is pencilled in for Autumn 2012.

E&C SPD should be published in October 2011 and agreed in April 2012.

Something called Network Insurance (never heard of them so may have got that wrong) who are in charge of the bit of road between the Northern line station and the roundabout is apparently now against the "peninsulisation" of said roundabout. This would have allowed for escalators into the stations.

TfL and a negociating member of the Southwark exec team (a woman - didn't catch her name) made conciliatory and reassuring noises about the future of the Station, saying there is still and that improvement
will happen just when they have figured out who is going to pay for it. the 200m figure (apparently reported in the press - I only seem to remember 160m) is apparently obsolete.

Simon Hughes was there as well as a few councilors (including Fiona Colley who was chairing). Rob Deck was there for Lend Lease who very much seemed to be the driving force behind the meeting. his presentation didn't say anything new as far as I could tell.

next meeting in June...

That's about it. I hope this is of interest.
Thursday 26 May 2011 10.06pm
As Seddon explained, St Modwen bought the centre in 2002 because of what was going to happen to the area (incidentally, they only own 50% of the building). They saw it as a good investment. Today Hannibal House seems fully let and there are only 2 empty unit in the shopping centre. The thing is clearly making money.

So I am wondering if St M. ever really considered demolishing the centre. After all the masterplan for the regen doesn't provide for a new centre to replace the old one. St M. would probably find themselves losing a good little earner if demolition happened.

That or they are trying to raise the stakes and force compulsory purchase from the Council (which would be expensive and very slow).
TAK
Thursday 26 May 2011 10.27pm
Thanks Guys for updates - very informative indeed.

Clearly, what you describe regarding shopping centre as well as the Trafalgar Square like public space we seem to have lost by now along with the new high street of shops is utterly disappointing!
One wonders if the council really has the powers to suddenly abandon years of master planning and consultation with local residents in a such a dictatorial way?
I really wonder how we can make the council listen to it's residents, or alternatively get the lot sacked.
Thursday 26 May 2011 11.07pm
i can't say i feel as positive about the tonight's exercise for a number of reasons:
1. forum attendance was by invitation only. the list of invitees was only made available at the meeting. the only body who could've compiled the list in the first place are the council. there never has been any clarity at all who makes the decisions as to 'who gets invited to what'. there is even less clarity as to what gets discussed and/or decided at the many 'stakeholder' or specialist 'workgroups' etc.
2. as lend lease are so keen to involve as many residents, the really simple solution is to publicise all of the meetings on the council's website and then as widely as possible, which would allow anyone in southwark (because the importance and impact of e&c goes well beyond its immediate vicinity) get involved at any one point.
3. @TAK: last summer, during a democracy commission event, a number of people came up with a number of interesting suggestions (never repeated let alone considered since) about the council accountability. one was to have residents set the agenda for community council meetings; another one (& this is something i've been thinking on & off for a while now) was to set up a system so that the residents can 'evaluate' the councillors' work (residents rather than their parties is a key difference, i think) - annual reviews are standard practice and in reality, we are their 'employers'? this would not really solve the problem of often totally unaccountable council officers but that's probably a thread in its own right :)
Thursday 26 May 2011 11.18pm
Yes, I share concerns about the invite only aspect (although I just asked for an invitation and got one). But, as I think they conveyed, they have to start somewhere, and as the consultation continues it will be far more open to all. I think it was lendlease doing the inviting with the input of the council.

They also said info and the Q&As from the meeting will be put on the website, which I look forward to reading.
TAK
Thursday 26 May 2011 11.42pm
I got an invite as I used to be involved in the T&RA where I live. However, as I stood down very recently I duly informed Lend Lease (from whom the invite came from - presumably with contact details obtained from LBS) that I was no longer involved in my T&RA, but I still was a very concerned and very interested resident and would love to attend that meeting regardless. The response I received was this:

'Due to numbers involved this session is by invitation, but I would very much like to stress that we have not yet begun consultation and are planning public exhibitions and a range of ways to get involved in the process shortly. So non attendance at a Forum meeting doesn't mean there will not be opportunities to give feedback and opinions on the emerging plans. We have set up this liaison group as one aspect of our consultation strategy; the intention is that the Forum will be another opportunity to discuss evolving plans, not the only one. We have attended all the Walworth Community Councils since December and are currently looking for an on-site presence.'

I responded again stating that I was very disappointed at no longer being invited to attend and also outlined some of my concerns regarding the regeneration and the consultation process. I then was sent this response:

'I'm sorry my reply was disappointing. The intention was to reassure you that although we (Lend Lease) have been engaging with local groups, consultation on the plans has not yet started and we are soon to begin that process. As you say it has taken a long time for this project to get off the ground and this is frustrating.

In terms of who is doing what - Lend Lease is responsible for taking forward the masterplan for the regeneration and St Modwen, the owners of the shopping centre, are to bring forward their plans on a similar timescale. In both cases work is underway to meet the requirements of the planners and once they are happy we have complied with the Regeneration Agreement we will be able to bring the first drafts into the public domain for consultation. The intention is to consult widely in a number of ways to ensure we really do get as much feedback as possible to inform the evolution of the masterplan. Now that you are on my contact list, we'll be able to keep you up to date as we go forward.

To be fair to Southwark Council, the responsibility for consultation sits with us and we are keen to begin the consultation process as soon as we can, but we do have to ensure that what we bring into the public domain for consultation is viable, responds to our legal obligations in the Regeneration Agreement and a variety of other contraints and challenges. We will also be improving our holding website and communications is key to ensuring as many people are able to participate in the process.'
Friday 27 May 2011 9.12am
I expect I was invited but I'm not in London so am very sad to have missed this. I am quite persuaded by the argument that St. Mod. may neverhave had any intention of demolishing...sounds more than likely. I agree with TAK that just junking all the plans and promises they fed us over the years without so much as a by your leave stinks.
Friday 27 May 2011 11.14am
@jamesup & zefrog: how many people do you think were there? i can never estimate the numbers :S (i'm writing it up at the moment, so would help)? thanks
Friday 27 May 2011 11.18am
I'd say the region of 60 attendees and a dozen staff
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