Last month Southwark's cabinet paved the way for the use of the council's powers to apply for compulsory purchase orders to get rid of businesses which might block the redevelopment of Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre.
Although many of the businesses in and around the shopping centre have short leases which expire in the next year, some occupiers have longer-term leases and Southwark Council could be asked to apply for compulsory purchase orders if Delancey is unable to negotiate successfully with its tenants.
In his foreword to the report agreed at the October cabinet meeting, Cllr Mark Williams wrote: "To enable this development, and the benefits it will bring for our residents, to happen we may be asked to make a compulsory purchase order.
"The shopping centre and surrounding area is home to a wide range of ethnic minority businesses, and we need to ensure that any impact on these businesses and communities is fully understand before a CPO could even be considered.
"Therefore this report recommends that the council undertake a full equalities impact assessment to guide us on our Public Sector Equalities Duty should we seek to make a CPO, and that this will inform a full mitigation strategy should a CPO be taken forward.
"We are proud of our borough's rich diversity, and also our history of welcoming people from around the world who make Southwark their home and contribute to the success of our area.
"Conducting an EqIA at this very early stage will mean we will be in a stronger position to help meet the need of our diverse communities, and help make the regeneration of the Elephant & Castle a success for all."
Meanwhile a local branch of the Green Party has held a public meeting to discuss the environmental impacts of the proposed Delancey development.
Walworth Greens hosted the session at Walworth Garden Farm last week with speakers including Kim Humphreys who represents Delancey and Finbarr Finn of architects Allies and Morrison.
After the meeting Nick Hooper of Southwark Green Party said: "We hope the developers opt for a more ambitious approach to the social and environmental elements of the project. Sadly, the current proposals also lack robust planning to support existing businesses, and new businesses may not serve the needs of the local community well. Big questions remain about the extent to which these crucial points have been considered.
He added: "We encourage the developers to embrace this unique opportunity to create a positive social space for people, made to the highest environmental standards.
"The regeneration should serve as a unifying focal point for all residents of the area, creating a hub for education, art, local small business, and long term accessible renting, as well as being a flagship of innovation in materials, technology, environmental design, public space and urban forestry."
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