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Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre could be here to stay

London SE1 website team

The Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre could be refurbished and extended despite a long-standing expectation that the building would be demolished as part of the regeneration of the area.

Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre
The Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre is more likely than ever to still be standing when it celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2015
Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre
According to this leaflet issued by Southwark Council in 2005, the shopping centre should have been demolished last year
St Modwen investors presentation
Investors in St Modwen have been told that the company is planning to extend the existing shopping centre at Elephant & Castle

St Modwen, the firm which has owned the centre since 2002, has revealed that it is considering revamping and extending the 46-year-old shopping mall.

The company published its financial results on Monday including a presentation to investors giving details of future projects.

The document on the company's website says that it is working on proposals for a "major refurbishment and extension" at Elephant & Castle.

The future of the shopping centre has been a matter of contention between St Modwen, Southwark Council and its development partner Lend Lease for a number of years, but it has always been accepted that the centre would be demolished in the coming years no matter which company controlled the land.

"Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre is nearly 100 per cent let and remains a superb asset for Southwark and London," says Tim Seddon, London & South East regional director at St Modwen. "We are keen to explore ways in which the centre can contribute to the wider regeneration.

"St Modwen has spoken with the London Borough of Southwark regarding options for the future of the centre. Refurbishment and extension of the centre is one of those options. It is very early days and we will comment further at the appropriate time."

Update Thursday 10 February: Cllr Fiona Colley, Southwark's cabinet member for regeneration, said: "Southwark Council is committed to the comprehensive regeneration of the Elephant & Castle including the existing shopping centre. It would take a great deal of work and innovation in order to succesfully transform the shopping centre, rather than demolish it, in order to meet our requirements and vision for the area.

"We do, however, look forward to hearing St Modwen's proposals for the centre in more detail and to discussing them with our development partner Lend Lease. We intend to work closely with St Modwen to reach a shared view on a sustainable and viable set of proposals that can meet all parties' objectives for this important site."

Cllr Paul Noblet, Southwark Lib Dem regeneration spokesman, said: "It is very positive that the centre is trading well but local residents will be very suprised to hear of longer term investment plans given Labour promised its demolition as part of their deal with Lend Lease.

"The council needs to stop dithering and get round a table with Lend Lease and St Modwen and sort out the centre's future once and for all."

Newington ward Lib Dem councillor Cathy Bowman, who was responsible for the Elephant & Castle regeneration project as deputy council leader until the 2006 elections, said: "This is another Labour let-down for local residents.

"First Labour signs a development deal worth many millions of pounds less than had previously been on the table, then they back track on re-provision of leisure centre facilities.

"Now it looks like the long-promised new town centre will in fact be the same old shopping centre with maybe a lick of new paint, if we're lucky!"

In its full-year results, St Modwen said: "Testament to the fact that well located and well managed secondary retail property can prove to be a reliable investment is the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre in London.

"The centre now comprises 82 tenants and occupancy has increased from 93 per cent to 98 per cent during 2010. As a result of 15 new lettings and lease renewals, the net rent receivable has increased by 3.2 per cent during the year to £3.8 million per annum."

Lend Lease has recently taken over the official website for the Elephant & Castle regeneration scheme. In its frequently asked questions section, the Australian developer says: "The council, Lend Lease and the owners of the shopping centre are having discussions about an economically viable scheme on this site to form a gateway to Elephant & Castle and bring development forward as soon as possible.

"The shopping centre forms part of the regeneration agreement with Lend Lease and the proposals for this site will form part of the master plan."


Do you welcome this possible reprieve for the shopping centre?

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