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Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre to endure

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Sunday 13 February 2011 2.23pm
bobcourt wrote:
...There seems to be a common theme here that regeneration = bad. The regeneration/gentrification of E&C, and the treatment of existing residents should be considered to be two completely different things.

Gentrification means getting rid of a poorer set of residents to enable a more wealthy set of people to move in. How can you separate out the regeneration/gentrification of E&C and the treatment of the older population? They are linked both structurally and politically. Not only that, why would you separate it out? The older local population deserves some understanding and respect. They do not deserve shunting out of the place because some people with more economic and political power like living close to City and the West End and want to pop into a local Waitrose for something nice for special occasions.

People living in The Elephant for a long time (like myself) have a lengthy social history and involvement in their local area. Any Regeneration scheme that wants to disregard that local wealth and knowledge is one that only see that population as a hindrance to the making of profit for developers and by knock on effect for new people buying into the area.

I'm not against anyone moving here but I expect them to try to understand and care about the existing local population and also the social processes that enable new people to move into new homes in the area. This means taking the notion of a regeneration that benefits all seriously and not hiding the removal of the older residents behind euphemistic phrases like 'balancing the mix'.

bobcourt wrote:
As for people being asked to leave their homes, well, if you're renting a property, privately or socially and the landlord gives you notice, then you have to leave. Private renters are worse off because they're only guaranteed a 6-12 month stay in a given property!
I do understand that there are a handful of leaseholders in the Heygate that are being offered prices that are below the market rate. This is a completely different matter, and I agree that this is appalling. I do sympathise with them and I hope that they continue to fight their cases.

Heygate tenants are public housing tenants. That means they have a right to a public home. If they are asked to leave by the Council then it's only to be re-housed by the Council somewhere else. The Council promised Heygate tenants that 16 new sites of public housing would be built in the E+C area, only one of which was built during the decant process. Tenants repeatedly stressed over 10 years that they wish to live in The Elephant and not be moved out of the area.

bobcourt wrote:
Referring to your previous statement about suggesting we should increase the social mix in Dulwich Village: I had a look the website, and the crime figures indicate that we should leave Dulwich village alone, and focus on improving Elephant and Castle.

It's interesting how there is more crime in poor areas than in rich ones. Why is that? But anyhow I think you missed my point, joking as it was. It was a question about how when people talk about 'balancing the social mix', they never talk about moving poor people into areas like Dulwich that are predominantly wealthy. Let's build some public housing in Dulwich Village so we can all enjoy the amenities!
Monday 14 February 2011 10.18am
They did talk about that - 60 years ago - it was the policy of the 1945 and 1951 Labour governments to build social housing at the edges of London's park land in rich areas. The Alton east and west estates are the best examples* of this in action. The Aylesbury was in some ways the same idea, be it at the edge new park...

Not much favoured any more...

* There's a great film about all this called Utopia London - I've asked Tate if they could do it for community film club, will post if I get anywhere!
Sunday 20 February 2011 9.53pm
This may be a wildly naive question, but I remember reading in an original masterplan that the idea was to remodel the Elephant roundabout? Destroying the shopping centre so the Walworth Road could be lengthened and straightened (I guess parallel to where Elephant road is now) and therefore ommitting the need for our lovely massive roundabout.

I'm assuming with the work on the south roundabout (which is miles better, BTW!) that this is never gonna happen?

I have to say, I don't reckon we're ever getting rid of the shopping centre! But it probably could okay, with a few million worth of recladding. Until those horrible underpasses are gotten rid of though, I won't be happy - I'm less bothered about the shopping centre :P
Monday 21 February 2011 9.42am
This article stems from a press releases from St Mow stating the profitability of the shopping centre, and to publicly threaten the regen process by suggesting they will keep it as is rather than selling to council as part of the masterplan. In reality, the centre is outdated and inefficient and given location should be far more profitable... and accessible to users. St Mow are holding out, trying to get a better price...

The masterplan is to straighten a pedestrianised end to Walworth rd, traffic to be kept at the perimeter with changes to the roundabout. Arches under EC station are to be opened up linking the market square with Wal Rd
Monday 21 February 2011 10.00am
We should all put a mark in our diaries for ten years from now and see what actually transpired.
Monday 7 March 2011 3.50pm
The intial disappointment on discovering this news has turned into delight. I think the shopping centre has great potential with a lick of paint and some sensitive refurbishment to make the most of the increasingly 'period' rectilinear design. Perhaps we could find hope from the transformation of Bloomsbury's Brunswick Centre, which was in a far more miserable state than our increasingly vibrant centre:

With forthcoming new development all around it the old shopping centre could provide much needed architectural and social diversity.
Monday 7 March 2011 4.01pm
Trouble is that most of the independent shops have disappeared from the Brunswick and it's full of the same chain restaurants that are everywhere else.

And the people I know around Holborn and King's Cross liked Safeway/Morrison's which used to be there and are less keen on Waitrose which (fairly or unfairly) is perceived as very expensive.

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Monday 7 March 2011 9.30pm
Any of the people I know who live around there wouldn't have used the Safeway after dark and quite honestly the only attractive thing about the B Centre, pre-development was the Renoir. Going there pre-development brought a whole new meaning to 'film noir'. As for Waitrose being expensive - I agree. You should encourage your friends to walk the extra 5 minutes to the People's Supermarket on Lamb's Conduit Street.
Monday 7 March 2011 10.37pm
There's no question that the Brunswick is infinitely more pleasant now than it was before.

But as a model for the Elephant in terms of

a) the survival of small businesses during and after regeneration
b) community cohesion

I'm not sure it is so successful.

Editor of the London SE1 website.
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Monday 7 March 2011 11.57pm
If Elephant and Castle shopping centre turned into something like the Brunswick Centre I for one, would not be complaining one bit.
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