Walked past that little square in Waterloo, opposite the Old Vic where the homeless used to burn their fires every night during the winter. The square has been refurbished little by little, but now there is notice of a planning application to turn the Barclay's bank in the corner into a bar/restaurant and to use part of the gardens as outside area for the restaurant.
Have to say it can only be an improvement, as the spot has been a bit of an eyesore... another noisy bar or open fires, tough choice for local residents! ;-)
Juha, you're right it will be an improvement for Emma Cons Gardens, but it will just move the homeless people on somewhere else nearby, so it doesn't solve any problem for them or anyone else. They've been in Emma Cons Gardens since the IMAX was built, which displaced them from the cardboard city under Waterloo Roundabout. So this will just move them across the road to the park probably.
I dunno, just seems a bit pointless moving them again for the sake of another bar/restaurant, which we're not really short of. My guess is Waterloo has a long history of being home to these people, I know that the same people have been in Emma Cons since the IMAX was built, so I expect to see them gathering somewhere nearby after the bar/restaurant moves in.
I see a lot more of them already by Southwark tube and the 24h shop there, and Nelson Square could easily become another area to be affected. I think the church in Waterloo Road allows the homeless to sleep there, which might be part of the whole thing. Are there any hostels in this area? In any case, I have always felt it can't be totally safe to have open fires like those in a residential inner city area - the fire could easily escape and spread.
I don't think the owners of Mercury House are acting to get the homeless off the square though, but have seen a business opportunity to get higher rents from the property...