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Final Elephant masterplan agreed

Southwark Council's executive met on Thursday night to agree the final masterplan for the £1.5 billion, 11-year regeneration of a 170-acre site at the Elephant & Castle.

elephant regeneration
Birdseye view sketch of the illustrative master plan of Elephant and Castle

The programme will include the creation of a pedestrianised town centre, including a market square "similar to Covent Garden or Borough Market". A new civic square will "rival the size of Trafalgar Square" and be able to hold performances and major celebrations.

elephant regeneration
Illustrative sketch of Walworth High Street (Walworth Road) looking north from Heygate Street.

This is the latest development in the ongoing saga of the regeneration of this important transport and social hub linking Central London to South London. In April 2002 the council's relationship with Southwark Land Regeneration collapsed, setting back the process by several years

elephant regeneration
Birdseye view sketch from north of the new civic square currently occupied by the northern roundabout. It will be the focus for the public transport system where bus, train and underground systems meet.

Southwark Council can now begin to seek formal expressions of interest from developers capable of delivering its vision for "a new town centre serving South, South and central London and beyond".

elephant regeneration
Illustrative sketch of the elevated glazed railway station concourse, which will have dramatic views north to St Paul's Cathedral. The new roof will sit above railway arches that can be used for shops and cafes and will connect to the new Market Square to the West.

Construction on some of the early housing sites could begin as soon as the end of this year, if housing association partners are found quickly.

elephant regeneration
Illustrative sketch of the new market square, which will have two character areas. The central part of the square will provide space to accommodate an open market during the day and can be used for public gatherings to view cinema and theatre in the evening.

Developed in partnership with Foster and Partners, Tibbalds TM2, Gehl Architects and Space Syntax, the framework has ten key elements:

• Removing the Heygate Estate and the infamous red shopping centre
• Re-housing Heygate tenants in quality housing association homes built around the regeneration area
• Re-routing the gyratory traffic system to give priority to public transport, including the proposed London Tram
• Extending the Walworth Road to create 75,000m2 of new retail and leisure space
• Building a new city academy for Southwark
• Using railway arches to create a vibrant market square
• Developing four new open spaces
• Creating a new civic square to serve as a ground level public transport interchange
• Providing 5,300 new and replacement homes
• Constructing two landmark buildings to provide a central focus to the new "town centre"

"Our plans for a new town centre will give the Elephant back its heart and create a place where people will want to travel to, not just through" says Cllr Catherine Bowman, Southwark's executive member for regeneration and economic development. "The regeneration of Elephant and Castle has been talked about for years, but never before have the plans and proposals reached this advanced stage. By adopting this development framework and grounding it in planning policy for the area, we now have a watertight proposal that is both ambitious and deliverable."

elephant regeneration
On the site of the current Heygate estate, a new Town Park will become the focus to a new residential quarter.

The consultation on the draft development framework took place between June and September last year. The council says that 80 per cent of respondents to a questionnaire sent to every home in the area gave either strong or moderate support for the plans.

elephant regeneration
Illustrative sketch of Heygate Street, which will be remodelled to provide a forty-metre wide tree-lined boulevard. This will incorporate cars, buses, cycle tracks, generous pavements and space for the new Cross River trams.

The transformation of the Elephant is expected to take around 12 years and create thousands of jobs.

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