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New boss for Elephant and Castle regeneration

Jon Abbott has been appointed to the role of Elephant and Castle project director by Southwark Council.

Jon Abbott
Jon Abbott

He was chosen by a panel representing Southwark Council, Lend Lease and First Base and moves up from his previous position of assistant director.

Abbott has served as interim director since the departure of previous project director Chris Horn last autumn.

Abbott has worked for Southwark Council since 1989 and has been working on the Elephant and Castle regeneration for nine years.

Subway removal timetable

Council documents published last month show that Transport for London has committed to sign off the final design for the much-delayed new road layout to replace the southern roundabout and subways with surface-level pedestrian crossings by the end of March. Work on the scheme is at least two years behind schedule.

Traders' ongoing concerns about future of shopping centre

Last week Southwark Council's ruling executive heard a deputation from Valerie Stevens of the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre Traders' Association calling for a clear timetable from the council as to the future of the shopping centre.

She told councillors of the "blight" on the shopping centre caused by the uncertainty about when it will be closed and demolished and what form the new shopping areas will take.

She asked members of the executive to ensure that "the future of Elephant & Castle tenants is going to be a bright one and not a bleak one".

Responding to her presentation, executive member for regeneration Cllr Richard Thomas said: "It's of critical importance to us that the new Elephant & Castle caters for small and independent traders."

He explained that the measures Southwark has taken to safeguard local businesses at the Elephant already go beyond anything done by any other authority in comparable regeneration schemes.

Cllr Thomas said that the council still needed to work out what help it might offer to traders when major chains like Tesco start to move out of the shopping centre.

"By whatever means we need to get control of the shopping centre," he said, expressing a hope that an agreement could be reached with landlords St Modwen to avoid a complex compulsory purchase order process.

Regeneration chiefs met local traders last Wednesday to reopen lines of communication after several months' hiatus.

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