Trust me that it is not good. It is designed by people, who are completely clueless about the way shoppers actually behave. These shops will be a disaster for all concerned. Mark my words there. I have spent a career on this I know the way they behave and they will not shop in this pathetic arcade of small shops with a toilet as the only attraction at the end of it.
They will not be able to give away these shops to sensible retailers never mind charge rent. A sensible retailer will take one look at this, laugh and walk away. Only naive fools will open stores here. If they are lucky, they will only loose money. If they are really unlucky, they will lose everything.
Tiendas is totally different to the current proposal. It is specifically targeted at a narrow audience. The current proposal Isnít that. It is supposed to target a wider audience. As formulated the current proposal is a waste of time and money for everyone involved. Iím sure a succcessful proposal is there to be had, but whatís on the drawings now isnít it. It completely ignores retailing common sense.
Totally agree with Boroughbloke. I also have some experience working with retail centre owners. It's a very flawed design, a dungeon, a fantasy that will cause more problems than it will solve.
The layout - as a dead end - will mean few traders have passing footfall. It's already a fairly quiet corner anyway. The exterior of the arcade is mostly taken up by the existing pharmacy and the cafe. The original draft proposal for a entrance at the back of Perronet House and front was pulled because of complaints about disturbance to residents, although the disturbance would still be caused by servicing at the rear for the 12 businesses.
It's a confused concept. The pitch deck presented it as inspired by some of the most down at heel retail spaces in South London, but the architect behind is Carl Turner whose speciality is hipster hangouts like Pop Brixton. His visualisations of the proposal reveal its hipster aspirations - i.e. high margin businesses that don't need high footfall. To try and solve this the facade of Perronet House will need to have a great deal of commercial signage added to it - Carl's proposal shows just the Elephant Arcade branding, no communication for what this arcade actually offers, yet his down at heel references show these spaces need the businesses inside need to be promoted on the outside.
Unpleasant. The proposed area was designed for parking and storage. It has a low ceiling, many low concrete beams, drainage pipes, man hole covers. Mr Patel at the pharmacy told me he struggled to make his space work and chose not to use nearly as much space as his planning application had originally granted him because it was unworkable. In the arcade proposal all but the cafe business will be given a space little bigger than a parking bay, with no natural light... a cell. Outside there are problems too. The concrete beams overhanging outside are dangerously low - this is the view of TfL, conveyed to me on a walkabout in 2015 when we were reviewing the estate boundary in the context of the pavement resurfacing - TfL were keen to hack at them but the council officers and I with them made the case that the pedestrian desire line was away from the danger. The proposed arcade will lead to greater risk of head injury - is Carl Turner's ludicrously impractical hanging garden meant to soften the blow?
False land grab. The space proposed was a well tenanted garage space, seized by the council in 2013 on the grounds of making space for the pharmacy but then abandoned for nearly 4 years. During this time the council's lacklustre security meant intruders broke in and set up camp. Some of this spilled over into the adjacent garage area which has been an ongoing battle with the council to have secured - I finally got my own contractor to devise a spec, give me a quote and forced the council to deliver it. Prior to the council's 2013 decant of this area there were no anti-social issues in the garages. Yet Cllr Cryan pretends that this arcade is being built to solve anti-social problems inside the basement and outside street crime! There's a long waiting list for garages and storage here, spaces that any local resident can apply for. Taking this out of circulation means more demand for car parking on streets. Surely better to keep parking off streets and tuck cars tidily away in dark basements?
False consultation. The council officer Dan "dodgy" Taylor has repeatedly obscured the truth of this application with residents with barely visible plans, fake consultation and straight out lies. Even the planning application claims only one property will be affected, 1 Perronet House, which is a flat far from the proposal, at the opposite end of the building on the 2nd and 3rd floors. Many flats will be affected, Number 1 Perronet House isn't one of them.
No doubt, it will be approved. I despair of good sense around here.
In May last year Southwark's executive decided to offer the garages under Perronet to help Delancey develop the shopping centre. It seems that no community asset is safe from Southwark handing them over to developers.
Council tenants, often the most marginalised in our community are easily bullied by their landlord, and least able to retain their amenities when their landlord wants to give them away.
Of course it is. Even though it's a terrible idea with few fans.
Nevermind. Thankfully my household's escape plan from Perronet House and Elephant and Castle has worked out, and by 3 July we'll have Pexited. We'll try and close our ears and eyes to the widespread foolish changes that will soon be underway. Dan Taylor has pulled off a tremendous and deceptive heist, and I expect will do a few more in the area for his masters running the Labour Council, before going to work for a developer.
This is Perronetonian, checking out and signing off.
Many local residents have told me they are opposed to this, for reasons noted above. Some are not concerned, none have told me they are in favour.
Iíll be speaking as a ward councillor about this proposal at the planning committee on Thursday evening.
If you live in Saint Georgeís Ward, please DM me and let me have your views.