This week will see the switching on of the first phase of an ambitious project to light up the Elephant and Castle at night.
E-light – designed by Equation Lighting Design and funded through the Elephant Links social regeneration programme – will adorn trees in the area with curtains of twinkling light to guide pedestrians round the Elephant's confusing network of walkways and underpasses.
And in the new year, the next part of the lighting scheme will shroud the 1960s concrete towers of Hannibal House and Draper House in rich shades of colour creating a striking and long lasting beacon at the heart of the Elephant and Castle.
Cllr Catherine Bowman, Executive Member for Economic Development and Regeneration said: "As well as beaming out a bit of festive cheer, E-lights is about telling the world that the future of the Elephant and Castle is bright. These imaginative light installations will set off the area's concrete architecture brilliantly, provide an eye-catching feature for commuters and improve the safety of the area for residents and pedestrians."
Council leader Nick Stanton will perform the official "switch on" at 5pm on Friday 12 December at Lights Up, an evening of Christmas revelry at the Elephant and Castle shopping centre.
In addition to broadcasting the E-lights live onto huge screens inside the centre, Lights Up will bring together a festive array of entertainment including Father Christmas, stilt walkers, acrobats, Latin American dancing, late night shopping and a performance by sixties super band Marmalade. The event will take place between 5pm and 7pm and is being supported by Southwark Council, shopping centre owners St Modwens, Urban Space Management who manage the outside market and the London Palace who own the bingo and bowling clubs at the shopping centre.
E-lights is one of a number of environmental improvements funded by Elephant Links to provide benefits to the community in advance of the Elephant's £1.5 billion regeneration. The project will continue to come on stream throughout 2004 to include feature lighting around the Elephant's 11 schools and improved street lighting.