This week Southwark Green Party submitted comments to Southwark Council on the planning application under consideration for the Elephant & Castle area. SGP objected to the application on a number of grounds and fear that the application could be another failure by Southwark Council to properly follow their own planning guidelines and consult communities on development in their areas.
The application fails to make provision for any social rented housing in the new development, despite the Council’s own policy that new developments should comprise at least 35% affordable housing, the majority of which should be social rented. SGP therefore proposed that the affordable housing be managed by a housing association, with a significant offering of assured tenancies. SGP also called for a detailed relocation plan for existing retailers to be published prior to any decision on the application. Currently there is no location plan for retailers who must leave their premises and no intention to provide affordable retail units which would allow retailers to return. There is also little evidence that strategies which would preserve or enhance the current ecosystem of shops and leisure premises have been considered by the developers.
The application offers residents very little in the way of green spaces, despite Elephant & Castle being identified as one of the parts of the borough “in greatest need for good quality open space to help address socio-economic issues” by the 2013 Southwark Open Space Strategy. Several listed buildings in the area are also at risk and SGP supports the Theatres Trust in their objections to the demolition of The Coronet theatre which is widely used by residents.
Air pollution is a major issue in Southwark and something SGP has persistently campaigned on. Although Elephant & Castle to St George’s Circus has been designated an Air Quality Focus Area by the Greater London Authority, there is again little evidence in the planning application that measures to reduce emissions and increase air quality have been considered – bad news for the health of Southwark residents.
Overall SGP found that the application was unimaginative and unambitious in terms of its housing, leisure, sustainable development and transport provision, and neglectful of existing communities and retailers. We hope that Southwark Council will seriously consider the many objections that have been raised in response to the planning application before they make a decision on the Elephant & Castle development.
Read the full response.