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Cafe Nova Interchange: Elephant social enterprise shuts

A social enterprise cafe at the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre has shut down, with just six months to go until the possible closure of the whole centre.

Cafe Nova Interchange: Elephant social enterprise shuts

Cafe Nova Interchange – located in the middle of the upper mall at the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre – was a social enterprise providing training and employment for disabled and disadvantaged people.

Madrid-born Amelia Suarez, a former catering manager at St Thomas' Hospital, started the business in 1997 as a training scheme for people with learning and physical disabilities.

The cafe opened in the shopping centre in 2001 and Amelia retired to Spain in 2010.

A notice posted at the cafe over the weekend says: "It is with great sadness that we are closing the cafe after 17 years trading from today, Monday 24 September.

"We would like to thank all our customers for their loyal support and wish everyone the best for the future."

The loss of Cafe Nova Interchange comes a month ahead of the closure of the Santander bank at the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre which shuts down on 25 October.

The shopping centre's owners Delancey indicated this summer that they plan to close the building at the end of March 2019 to prepare for demolition and redevelopment.

Although controversial development plans were approved by Southwark councillors in July, the scheme's fate is now in the hands of Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

More than 2,000 people have signed a petition protesting against the displacement of small businesses and noting the relatively small provision of affordable housing.

The petition urges the Mayor to 'take over' the planning application so that a final decision is made at City Hall.

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