Received via email to the Southwark Notes HQ in deepest Walworth:
A public consultation event to view and comment on the outline designs for the new Elephant & Castle Leisure Centre and the supporting residential led mixed-use development. The event will be held at Elephant & Castle Leisure Centre, 22 Elephant & Castle, London SE1
6SQ on:

Saturday 14 January 10am – 5pm
Monday 16 January 10am – 5pm
Tuesday 17 January 11am – 8pm

Southwark Notes asks 5 Basic Questions On A Rip-Off In Progress

The original publicity for the Council and Lend Lease regeneration of The Elephant area included a revamped Leisure Centre to benefit all local people. So how does half of this parcel of public land now get used to site a new residential ‘30-40 storey’ tower block with a reduced Leisure Centre behind it? In what way has there been a proper consultation on whether a massive tower is what people want?  The original commitment to a top quality Centre seems a good enough benefit for all.

Why does it now have to be conditional on the private housing component?

Based on this condition, why then is the Leisure Centre reduced and not improved and expanded if Lend Lease, the developers, get their tower of private flats and profits in the millions of pounds? Why is the larger popular sports hall being reduced from 6 to 4 courts when experts at Sport London and Pro-Active said at the original consultation that such facilities are sorely lacking in London?

So, what happened?

Why is the new Tower Block placed at the front of the land and the Centre shoved in at the back? It now seems more about privileging more expensive and mainly private housing than popular and vital local amenities.

Is another massive tower even desirable at The Elephant?

Is Consultation bogus? The September 2010 consultation asked people to look at Option A) Bigger Leisure Centre, Less Housing and Option B) Smaller Leisure Centre and More Housing. The Council also wanted to see if there was ‘a genuine demand’ for a sports hall. Given the stats of people wanting to keep the sports hall and have a good swimming pool, why is Option B chosen and where is the evidence that people wanted less and not more?! Can you consult on a 10 storey tower by just having a vague idea of it at the big consultation in August 2010 and then agree a development in June 2011 where you sell half the site to Lend Lease? Subsequently when you ask people again on the details the 10 storeys have magically become ‘30 or 40 storeys’. *

So where does the slippage come from? And why?

Hence we ask: Is this kind of regeneration just more and more of a total RIP-OFF? It seems like the more they can rip-off the local community the more they will. The profits they make at The Elephant comes from the private housing components and not any retail, cafes etc at the base of the new tower. The profits come from being able to take more of our public land to build private houses as we lose more and more local amenities.

How does this benefit long-term residents?

Answers on a postcard to us please or to the Consultation itself!

* You can see read the Council Consultation Report and the advert for this next round of Consultation here and make your own minds up:

• Southwark Council Leisure Centre_Consultation_Report – October 2010
• Leisure Centre_Consultation Leaflet_January 2012

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