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Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre - Shopkeepers Asking for Compensation?

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Tuesday 29 November 2005 2.14pm
I vaguely remember reading in some local paper that the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre shopkeepers had banded together and were asking for the centre to be closed early (ahead of regeneration plan) and for them to be given compensation by Southwark Council.

Can't find any inkling of it online though?

Does anyone know any more details of this - or links to any specific webpages?
Tuesday 29 November 2005 2.35pm
I recently spoke to one of the traders about this. So far as I know they're not calling for the centre to be closed early - far from it.

Some of the traders are fed up of the centre being derided by the council and regeneration officials and dismissed as an eyesore and undesirable place to shop, which they say does them no favours trying to make a living in this interim period leading up to the redevelopment.

Some traders feel that despite assurances that all sizes of business will be accommodated in the development plans, that realistically no developer is going to want, say, a family-run fruit n veg shop alongside the chain coffee shops in their shiny new buildings.

They also have gripes with the centre's owners, St Modwen, about service charges.

The changing population of workers and residents in the area is also having an effect - the office buildings above the centre are now empty, and people are already being moved out of the Heygate.

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Thursday 1 December 2005 3.14pm
I really don't understand why people put down the Shopping Centre - probably because like most journalists they've never actually been there and just trot out the popular line of it being grim and empty.

Aesthetically, yes it's horrid. But living near it I find it to have a very useful little mix of shops with Tesco, Iceland, Boots, Superdrug, (both with pharmacy counters), WHSmith, Woolworths, Peacocks, a fruit and veg stall/shop, a handy DIY and hardware shop, photo developers, dry cleaners, Birthdays, Clarkes Factory Shop, bowling, bingo, a good and cheap Chinese restaurant (Tai Tip Mein), an intriguing eastern European food shop (Tradica) and two banks. It's also got the collection of South American shops and a few more independent traders. A Post Office would make it complete.

It does look run down and uninviting though, and the market could be better laid out.
Thursday 1 December 2005 4.44pm
Is Tlon Books, the second hand bookshop, still there as well?
Thursday 1 December 2005 5.17pm
ah HA, here is the perfect case for my Friends of the Elephant group. We are well aware, those of us close to the Regeneration Scheme, that there is a suspicion abroad that the idea is to squeeze all the old faithful traders out and bring in all sorts of Waitrose and Harvey Nicks type places. THIS IS DEFINITELY NOT THE IDEA at all. On the contrary, it is hoped that anyone who wishes will transfer his/her business to the new market place. Obviously, there will be other and newer traders, and it is no secret that the extended Walworth Road which will go right up to the Northern Roundabout of the E&C will, we hope, attract some of the up-market shops. But there is absolutely no aim to turn the E&C into some sort of yuppyland - it will lose all its character. And as an involved and happy resident, I agree with Zappomatic. The shopping centre is GREAT, despite its rather scruffy appearance, and has got everything one really needs - food, pharmacies, books and newspapers, shoe store and shoe menders, a great DIY store, Woolies and Peacocks, and I was only a few threads ago bemoaning the departure of the flower stall which is a serious loss. Watch this space for info. re the new website we are setting up for all the info. you'd want on the regeneration and its progress.
Thursday 1 December 2005 5.55pm
It may not be part of the regeneration plan to squeeze out the old, independent traders at the Elephant - but it can't be denied that this is what is actually happening. Whether this is directly the fault of the regeneration or the fault of private developers hoping to make a lot of money from the regeneration is an interesting point. Though probably not very interesting to the traders at the Elephant who are left in a jam either way.

(And who was it that said they wanted the regeneration to turn the Walworth Road into the King's Road of south London?!?)
Thursday 1 December 2005 5.55pm
Yes, Tlon Books is still there.

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Thursday 1 December 2005 6.04pm
"who was it that said they wanted to turn the Walworth Road into the Kings Road of South London"..

Dunno....not me!
Thursday 1 December 2005 6.07pm
jackie rokotnitz Wrote:
> "who was it that said they wanted to turn the
> Walworth Road into the Kings Road of South
> London"..
> Dunno....not me!

I can't remember either - it was probably a council official (or councillor) - I read the comment a year or so ago and thought that it was the last thing in the world that I wanted.

Friday 2 December 2005 12.56pm
Hi there,

I am responding on behalf of the Elephant and Castle regeneration team to outline our position on local business issues. Further information can be found on the regeneration website

Context - Southwark Council has embarked on a ten-year programme of regeneration in Elephant and Castle with the aim of improving both the quality of life for local residents and the business environment. This follows in the footsteps on the successful regeneration of Borough, Bankside and Peckham, and is managed alongside the council's other regeneration programmes at Canada Water, Bermondsey and Aylesbury.

Extensive consultation undertaken with Southwark residents reveals that people like the area for its diversity and central location, but are frustrated with the run-down facilities, pollution and fear of crime in Elephant and Castle. These factors contribute to local residents spending 90% of their money outside Southwark. This directly affects local employment levels and inward investment, and has created a negative cycle resulting in local residents being among the poorest 10% in England.

Local business context - Southwark wants to bolster and improve the trading environment for local businesses. At the same time we need to Balance the evident demand from local people to have a much bigger and improved range of shopping and leisure facilities.

Businesses trading in Elephant and Castle reflect the area's diverse cultural population and many have operated for years in a difficult trading environment. Southwark wants these businesses to stay in the area where possible, and has pledged to support and assist businesses to continue trading through the transition to establish themselves in new, improved locations.

Support for local business - We recognise that all regeneration proposals cause uncertainty. This is why we have been working with traders for the past two years to identify the best possible working arrangements to assist them during the period of change.

We have established the Shopping Centre Liaison Group as a consultative forum and through this we assist businesses with a free business review and free legal and surveyor advice. The council's wider commitment of support for local businesses is set out below:

1.The right regeneration model
Southwark rejected a developer-led ‘Bluewater' model that favours national multiples. Instead an open-streets approach is being pursued that will be more able to nurture small/medium sized independent businesses.

2.Maintaining trade at the shopping centre from now until demolition
It is essential that businesses remain strong enough to continue their operations and are able to make a move into new premises when the opportunity arises, if they wish to do so. This requires the council, the shopping centre owners (St Modwen) and the individual businesses to work together to promote the centre. It is also essential that St Modwen, as the landlord responsible for the tenants within the shopping centre, take every reasonable step to help businesses to trade successfully. This includes active management of the centre to ensure it remains full.

3.Assisting businesses to transfer to new premises
In a survey undertaken in July 2005, 70% of businesses stated that they are eager to remain trading in Elephant and Castle. Southwark Council is using its position as a local planning authority to require all new commercial, mixed-use developments to offer a proportion of their units to existing businesses. In addition there are many new schemes now under way in the area, which is a reflection of market confidence in the regeneration plans. The first of these schemes is scheduled to be finished in 2008, more than a year before the shopping centre is due to be vacant. Several other schemes are likely to be finished in time to allow a similiar transition for existing traders.

Southwark is seeking to impose a ‘stepped rents' structure upon new developments in order to allow relocated businesses adequate time to adjust to their new trading environments. In addition Southwark is establishing proposals for a council fund that help businesses during the transition. Finally, the council has set up Business Extra, a business support agency to support local businesses and has recently employed a specialist Business Regeneration Manager who will work with businesses on a one-on-one basis.

Conclusion - Southwark is committed to creating a diverse and successful local business economy that meets the needs of both residents and local traders. As a local authority, Southwark wants local businesses to stay in the area and continue to serve the local population.

The regeneration programme will vastly improve the local environment and make it more clean, modern and attractive. Retail space within Elephant and Castle will increase six-fold and businesses in the area will be able to benefit from local people spending more of their money in the area.

Finally in response to a couple of comments above:

Call for compensation - The shopping centre is owned by a private landlord, St Modwen, to whom tenants in the shopping centre have a contractual rent agreement with. The council can not interfere with this agreement, and nor can we legally pay compensation from the public purse on an ad-hoc basis. Compensation is legally governed by the Landlord and Tenant Act and is dependant on the length of leases-which St Modwen governs. What the council can do is help to influence St Modwen to be fair to traders-which we are actively doing, and we can put in place measurs as outlined above

James' comments about the council downtalking the shop- this was an issue raised in the Shopping Centre Liaison Group over two years ago. It came on the back of the announcement to regenerate the area, and there was a lot of press at the time about the shopping centre being an eyesore. As you'll appreciate we can't control what journalists write! We recognised at this time that we needed to be positive about the change process and respected that some officer comments may have been taken the wrong way. I challenge you to find any negative quotes from any officer or councillor since that time!

Declining population - Not true. A handful of Heygate tenants will be moving in the new year, and probably no more until autumn 2007. In any case, replacement homes for Heygate tenants are being built in and around Elephant and Castle, in order to meet the demand from Heygate residents to stay local- a hugely positive thing. In the meantime, a number of private developments are under way with new people moving in all the time. An example of this is the newly completed Oakmayne South Central develoment, which has in total about 130 new units.

Edited 2 times. Last edit at 2 December 2005 1.09pm by EC development team.
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