Open Letter To Natalie Brett, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of College, London College of Communications

Natalie Brett
Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of College
University of the Arts London
London College of Communication
Elephant & Castle
London SE1 6SB

13th June 2018

Dear Natalie Brett and UAL management,

Open letter on the redevelopment of the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre

This is an open letter from the groups representing the Elephant and Castle local communities asking for your support in achieving a redevelopment plan for the shopping centre that doesn’t push the local community out.

We oppose Delancey’s plan in it’s amended form, which gives with one hand and takes away with another. Within their new housing offer they have hiked the prices of some of the affordable flats to make up for the increase in social housing. Their additions include a temporary boxpark of just under 300sq/m for displaced small independent traders who (according to the Council) currently occupy 4,000sq/m. Moreover there is no commitment on security of tenancy or affordability of rent and still no commitment to a ‘right to return’. The traders, whose families depend on the income from their businesses, cannot make a living with this level of prolonged insecurity. Lastly, despite Delancey intimating that the bingo hall could return, their suggestions has so far proven totally unworkable.

As it stands, the amended redevelopment plan is designed for a local population that Delancey wishes to attract to the area, rather than for the population already here. But It doesn’t have to be this way. There is a redevelopment model that could work for everyone and we ask you, UAL, to support us in making this a reality. This model is modest, and in terms of the housing offer simply compliant with Southwark Council’s own policy intentions. The community groups represented by our campaign have come together to formulate certain demands including :

  1. 35% real affordable housing made up of half social rent and half London Living rent, with secure tenancies. This must include a commitment that the Planning Committee will sign off any new S106 deal and that the affordable housing composition cannot be reduced at a later date.
  2. A relocation or compensation deal for all traders with a traders panel set up. Affordable units should be provided at 40% of market rates (as per policy) with temporary units available for everyone whilst the development is underway, rent free for 1st year. £100-250k compensation should be provided for any trader forced to relocate. This should include all traders within red line of the plan, from market stalls to shops, kiosks and stands. And commitment for a right to return.
  3. Bingo and bowling remain. Delancey’s removal of the Palatial Leisure facility disproportionately affect older people and people of colour which we believe to be a breach of the Equality Act 2010. Affordable leisure facilities are essential for a neighbourhood to thrive, as such, any redevelopment must reinstate the facilities at the heart of our community.

We suggest these improvements to the scheme are paid for out of Delancey’s £153 million projected profit. We are not opposed to development and the improvement of the Elephant and Castle area, in fact we would welcome it. We also appreciate LCC’s need for a new building. Our issue with the current proposal is that it does not bring tangible benefits to local people in terms of housing (or leisure), nor for existing traders and that is why we are asking for your support in putting forward these demands. We are aware that the college has been shortlisted for the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards for students’ work with local businesses. However although this is welcome, it is questionable whether any of these businesses will be able to remain in the area due to the proposed development. We know that UAL, and LCC in particular, are committed to community engagement, equality and social justice. As key partners in the development we are appealing to you to turn these values into genuinely social action.

We invite you to respond directly to our request.

Jerry Flynn
(35% Campaign)

On behalf of the following;

35% Campaign
Elephant Amenity Network
Aylesbury Tenants and Leaseholders First
Fight for the Aylesbury
Latin Elephant
Southwark Defend Council Housing
Alvey Tenants & Residents Association (TRA)
Fight For Revite
Ledbury Action Group
Rockingham Community Association
Southwark Law Centre
Walworth Green Party
People’s Republic of Southwark
Rainbow Collective
Southwark Notes
56a Infoshop
Stop the Elephant Development Campaign
People’s Bureau
Elephant Family Action
Arts SU, UAL Student Union

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