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Elephant will be top retail destination in a decade

The revitalised Elephant and Castle will be a major London shopping destination in ten years' time, according to new research.

Elephant & Castle shopping centre
The current shopping centre will eventually be demolished as part of the £10 billion regeneration process

Retail analysts Experian have carried out a study to forecast the most popular shopping destinations in 2017.

The Elephant and Castle is currently ranked at 1,186 in the table of retail centres in the UK – and Experian reckons it will leap to 113th place in the next decade.

The report describes Elephant and Castle as "the next district of London to undergo a major regeneration, capitalising on its proximity to the West End and its excellent (and improving) transport links".

"This report shows how much confidence there is in the area," says Southwark Council leader Nick Stanton.

"The Elephant certainly will become a jewel in London's crown, and something Southwark can be very proud of.

"But what we must be clear about is that we will not be creating another shopping mall. We will be working very hard with Lend Lease to create a far more vibrant and exciting area, where local independent traders sit alongside bigger high street names. This regeneration is about allowing current shops to flourish, by making the entire area an attractive place for people to visit.

"It will not be an identikit mall that people drive to, rush around, then drive off again. It will be streets of shops and cafes, as much for the benefit of local residents as visiting shoppers."

Experian's report on the Elephant and Castle notes that the area has "suffered from a lack of investment for decades".

The analysts say that "The retail accommodation concentrated on the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre has deteriorated with the majority of multiple retailers vacating and short term leases granted to new tenants."

Local traders have had a stormy relationship with the shopping centre's owners St Modwen and the council as years of uncertainty about the regeneration process have made trading conditions tough.

Whilst Southwark Council is keen to trumpet Experian's upbeat retail forecast, the authority naturally draws a veil over parts of the report that are potentially less conducive to community cohesion: "The area remains blighted by the high proportion of social housing nearby," note the report's authors.

More than 400 million of development is already happening at Elephant and Castle, and the area will be transformed with new housing, hotels, cinemas and theatres, along with open space, cafes and shops.

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