Tag Archives: South London

Compulsory Purchase Orders for Aylesbury Estate Regeneration Rejected

After an amazing and determined fight, Aylesbury leaseholders and other residents have been vindicated in their long struggle to be adequately compensated for their homes (if they are to be ‘decanted’ aka displaced out of the area). The whole dubious premise of the regeneration process has been critically toasted on this very basis of piss poor treatment of Aylesbury residents alongside many other crucial criticisms of the Council’s disgusting bulldozing through of the regeneration / gentrification scheme.

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The Inspectors report is long and detailed (83 pages) and we are still figuring out what this means. You can read the Inspector’s letter and report here:

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For us this is the opening space once more to pour our arguments into – net loss of affordable Council homes in favour of private homes, displacement of long term local residents and the gentrification of the area, knock on effects of the regeneration would lead to a secondary displacement locals and shops from local rising private and commercial rents.

For background you can read the whole sorry saga here: http://35percent.org/aylesbury-estate/ and here: https://southwarknotes.wordpress.com/aylesbury-estate/

There will be much more to say in the next weeks. For now here is Barrister Chris Jacobs from Landmark Chambers, giving his closing submission on behalf of objectors to the Aylesbury estate CPO Public Inquiry on 14th October 2015.

One The Elephant development: ‘Community Preview’ Thursday 10th Jan 6-8pm

gentrification top trumps st marys
One The Elephant will be a 37-storey high tower right in the heart of The Elephant and across from the Shopping Centre. It will be the little-ish sister of the Strata tower and the stalled but inevitably forthcoming 360 London tower on Newington Butts. It will contain only private homes with the currently advertised off-plan (i.e not yet built) starting price of £320,000 for a one-bed flat!  With zero affordable housing of any type, all of its 284 units will be luxury flats for the open market and some with access to a secluded garden on the roof of a 4-storey building beside the tower. We have yet to see the plans for the drawbridge, moat and boiling oil!

Needless to say, the development is not really being marketed to local people (surely one of the key features of any regeneration scheme) but is being heavily marketed to overseas investors in the Far East as were, as we have been pointing out repeatedly over the years, Strata, Tribeca Sq, Metropolis etc.

one elephant HKone elephant singapore

There is aCommunity Preview on Thursday 10th at 6-8pm at London College of Communication, SE1 but this is a different kettle of fish from the real deal of the first buyers launch weekend on Sat 12th and Sun 13th January at Siobhan Davies Dance Studio, St Georges Rd, SE1. (Not too late to book your sales appointment over the launch weekend. Just call 020 3667 1522).

Quite what a ‘community preview’ is you can only tell us. Isn’t it a bit like rubbing our noses in it really when from January 2013 you can also buy a one-bed flat for £421,500 or if you need an extra bedroom you will need to stump up £535,000. A three-bedroom flat at Floor 30 will cost you a cool £1,065,000. On-site resident facilities include ‘a green roof for growing produce, a communal reading garden and a play zone for the under-fives’ plus residents of One The Elephant ‘will have a wide variety of activities a stone’s throw from their front door’ such as kebabs, betting shops, Chinese, numerous pound shops and also Bright House and the kiosk that sells bongs in the Shopping Centre!

RIP-OFF NUMBER 2312452
This development has slowly become linked to the building of a replacement Elephant leisure centre. The Council argument goes like this: if we let Lend Lease demolish the old leisure centre, use the front of the building footprint for a massive profit-expanding 37 storey building of luxury flats and get them to pay for a smaller leisure centre at the back, everyone will be quids in! Of course, this is only a very new and dastardly adulteration of many of the old regeneration plans where a new leisure centre came as part of the overall package of changes and not as something we have to now swap public land and size for. It is in this slow trickle of giving in to developers that all community benefits and gains have been ripped-off from local people who were prepared to give the regeneration a go.

Having played a smokes-and-mirrors consultation game, the Council and developers offers something which doesn’t even ‘re-provide‘, in their words, let alone ‘regenerate‘ the old leisure centre: we lose the borough’s only public squash courts and it all gets smaller and tucked behind the big thing in the sky. With Lend Lease’s announcement in mid-2012 that they will invest their profit from dumping the Greenwich Peninsula scheme (something in the region of £25 million) in the Elephant, the £3.5 million they are putting into the new leisure centre is humble to say the least. To top it off, they successfully refused to build affordable housing against all recent London-wide and local Southwark plans and the inevitable high profits of the scheme using the secret and untouchable mumbo-jumbo argument –  it ain’t financially viable –  will never be known to be measured against whether regeneration is offering value for money for long term local residents.

LEND LEASE GET THE SHAKES
In one sense, the One The Elephant scheme is something of both a necessity for Lend Lease and a bone given to them by the Council as Lend Lease still have the financial jitters on the Heygate redevelopment. Although with tears in his eyes, a Lend Lease person told us last year that they aren’t making ‘so’ much money on One The Elephant. Luckily our violins were close at hand and we consoled him with a nice bit of Concerto No.5 in A, the second movement by Mozart. Or not!

It would not be a big shock if Lend Lease didn’t complete both Phase 1 (Rodney Rd) and Phase 2 (Heygate St) over the next decade. Maybe the money to be made is in One The Elephant and Phase 1 where density and height pays dividends on such a small site. Will Phase 2 ever get built or will it get dumped and flogged in a perpetual round of selling on and risky speculation? It’s not impossible that once demolished the Heygate estate area will sit empty for years and years (like Tribeca Sq) waiting out the financial crisis.

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FOUR PARTS HYPE AND AN ESTATE AGENT
As a long-ish aside, we had a reputable Estate Agent write to us the other day asking if he could write something about Bankside and it’s potential for investors and home buyers on our estimable blog as they were keen to expand their web presence. We were intrigued and immediately commissioned a piece although in the end it was not suitable to publish here bizarrely enough. However an extract does give you an insight from the lowest part of the global property construction chain:

‘Bankside is a very attractive area which is exceptionally dynamic and vastly improving in developments making it one of the most up and coming areas of London….For potential buyers, this redevelopment of Bankside is quickly making it a very attractive area to invest in. Homes along this area range from between £800 and £1,300 a sq. ft. which is exceptionally good value for money for such a diverse and bustling area, with so much action on its doorstep. Away from the river there are cheaper areas notably around the Waterloo, London Bridge and Elephant and Castle area, where homes are typically around £500 and £700 sq. ft. Homes range from extravagant riverside flats, classical Victorian terraces, public housing and private developments, charitable and church housing, factory and warehouse options and live work units’.

Our presumed insight is that this formerly unloved area that nobody posh or with more money to invest for high returns would ever take a taxi too, has now fallen under the spell of those who operate with either a keen ironic sense of humour or a superb sense of optimism to write these kind of local summaries. Perusing the One The Elephant website that seeks to market the Elephant area to lots of people who have probably never been here we can find all sorts of funny things. For example, despite being firmly in the centre of The Elephant, the publicity cannot bring itself to show any real photos of the actual Elephant area and especially not the Shopping Centre. The one pic we could find was taken in La Chatica café on Elephant Rd, this being a suitably ‘exotic’ and ‘vibrant’ niche kind of place for those who want to invest. Other local attractions featured on the site under the heading ‘Elephant & Castle’ are (listed here in an ascending order of the improbability of localness) Burgess Park, Kennington Park, The South Bank, Borough Market and the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben!

By the way, it would be churlish to name the estate agent involved. We were just nonplussed and took it as a sign that the operation of hype is out of control. Who could possibly ask to increase web presence of their local business of selling overpriced housing in the area to a website that has spent over 5 years relentlessly criticising the effects on the local population of such a property business!? We did ask him where he got the web address from but he never answered this pertinent question.

Anyhow, more important than estate agents and their whims is the very real and material question of One The Elephant – now there’s a real trendsetter!

Here is a massive development that

• was inexplicably separated out from the vast Lend Lease Outline Masterplan so that it had it’s own planning application and so we are guessing would appear separate when it is intrinsically linked to the wider Lend Lease development and those within the Elephant Opportunity Area.

• had zero real consultation on the topic of whether it should be built on top of the old leisure centre in the first place as opposed to just consulting on what new leisure centre people want.

• has zero social housing in an area desperate for truly affordable housing.

• has not been subject to any detailed assessment of the impact of 450 extra people on existing services and resources in the area (health, education, etc)

• does not provide any retail opportunity for traders displaced from the Shopping Centre refurbishment

• is an architectural eyesore that sits very uncomfortably next to the Grade ll listed Metropolitan Tabernacle.

• will have 46 car parking spaces in a development that is centered right at one of the most publicly accessible transport interchanges in London (buses, tube and rail) and the regeneration zone itself was always supposed to be a car-free development zone.

• has a very stupid name!

Take that to the community preview!

Untitledst mary skel2

POST MORTEM: Even the dead aren’t safe!
Before the ‘One the Elephant’ name was cunningly devised in some blue-sky thinking session this development was previously known as St Mary’s Residential after the churchyard on which it is partly to stand. But it’s not only the name that is lost in favour of the yuppie cachet of One The Elephant (as if), Walworth loses its dead to regeneration, since they are disinterring remains that go back to the Middle Ages. Some of the 500 skeletons dating back to medieval times unearthed beneath the site in 25 crypts will be reburied outside of the borough, some in Southwark’s functioning cemeteries. The Elephant regeneration finally spells displacement for the living and the dead. Of course the bodies that were missed in the diging will keep spinning in their grave and keeping many a private penthouse buyer nonplussed at the eerie and eldritch sound! It could be so. Woooo! Woooo!

Two interesting meetings coming up and demo!

The 35% CAMPAIGN is ‘campaigning for community inclusion in the Elephant & Castle regeneration’. They are part of organising two important and interesting meetings –  A Hustings meeting for the local by-election and an Elephant regeneration objectors meeting. Put the dates in your diary or phone!

They also have a brand new newsletter to read full of why the proposed regeneration is a shedload of broken promises when it comes to the promised community benefits re: housing, sustainability, transport, trees and so on.
Here!! 35 Percent Newsletter Nov 2012

• BY-ELECTION HUSTINGS MEETING
Tuesday 27th November

“There is going to a local council by-election in East Walworth on 29th November and we need to make sure that local candidates take our concerns about the regeneration of the area seriously. The 3 candidates (Labour, Lib-Dem and Conservative) will be attending a ‘hustings’ public open meeting on Tuesday 27 Nov 7pm at Crossway Church, 100 New Kent Rd Se1. This will be your opportunity to quiz them on the major local issues including the regeneration plans. Organised by Elephant Amenity Network

Jerry Flynn, spokesman for the group said: “The hustings is a chance for local residents to challenge and question the potential local councillor on any issue. With so many issues emerging around the recently submitted regeneration plans, this is the opportunity to demand that the new councillor takes them seriously and is fully accountable.”

• SATURDAY 1 DECEMBER 2012 from 2.00 – 3.00 pm
A Peaceful Community Demonstration to raise awareness of inappropriate development in Blackfriars Road. In Helen Gladstone Gardens [corner of Blackfriars Road and Surrey Row SE1, opposite Imbibe]

In an unprecedented move, Blackfriars Action for Responsible Development [BARD] was created by several tenant and resident associations to promote alternative strategies for a development planned by Linden Homes.  The proposed site runs from a terrace at 169-173 Blackfriars Road extending back to rows of garages in Pocock Street.

Linden Homes are giving two options for the site:

  • 27 storey glass building on Blackfriars Road with further buildings behind ranging from 7 to 11 storeys providing 206 apartments.  This involves the closure of Surrey Row and the appropriation of a community garden belonging to the Nelson Square estate, or
  • 15 storey building on Blackfriars Road providing 123 apartments and shops at ground level

Concerned local residents say that neither of the two options are viable for the following reasons:

  • Poor and unimaginative design
  • Height, massing and overshadowing of surrounding housing
  • Loss of heritage buildings
  • Inappropriate ‘social and/or affordable’ housing for local needs
  • Lack of community facilities and insensitivity to the history and social fabric of the area
  • The appropriation of  Helen Gladstone Gardens, a garden funded initially by Southwark Council’s Joint Security Initiative [JSI] money and cared for by local resident volunteers supported by the Bankside Open Spaces Trust [BOST]

There will be a Petition to sign.  Refreshments will be provided.

• ELEPHANT REGENERATION PLANS – OBJECTIONS MEETING
Tuesday 11th December

‘We are also inviting local objectors to a meeting at 7pm on Tuesday 11 December, to organise proceedings for the hearing of the Lend Lease planning applications in the coming New Year. This will involve discussing how best to approach the hearing and ensure that we make best use of the time allocated for voicing our objections. More details will be posted on our website at www.35percent.org

THE SIEGE OF THE ELEPHANT CONVERGENCE Sat 17th November 2012

The Siege of The Elephant:
A One-day Convergence
Saturday 17th November 2012

Saturday 17th November 11am – 5pm
Pembroke House
80 Tatum Street
London SE17 1QR

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Southwark Notes Archive Group* are currently inviting folks to contribute to The Siege of the Elephant, a one-day convergence against the gentrification of Elephant and Castle (and the surrounding area). The event aims to bring together local communities, activists, campaign and amenity group members and traders, as well as academics, students, researchers and members of campaign groups involved in similar regeneration/gentrification struggles in other areas of London.

There are two ways to contribute:

1) by participating to the event itself, which will take place on  Saturday 17th November  in Walworth, South London

2) and/or by submitting material to be displayed on the day and to be added to our Gentrification Archive. Submissions to the archive will also be accepted on a rolling basis from the Siege onwards.

The Siege of the Elephant
The aim of the day is to share evidence and discuss alternatives in
relation to the gentrification of North Southwark and Elephant and
Castle. The day will be divided in two parts and each will consist of
three parallel workshops followed by plenary discussions. We ask invited
contributors like you to introduce themselves and make a 5 minute
presentation on relevant evidence, work and/or experiences, which can
then be opened up for response to those at the table.

LIKELY TIMETABLE:
PART I (Morning) SESSIONS
How does gentrification work and what are its causes and effects in
Elephant and Castle?
The focus in these sessions will be on sharing evidence of:
1 – DISPLACEMENT: the displacement of existing communities (residential and commercial) and loss of public resources and amenities
2 – THE ROLE OF CONSULTATION: flaws with regeneration plans and the consultation processes (broken promises of re-housing, problems with top-down planning)
3 – THE SPIN OF REGENERATION: the role of PR and mass media narratives that support the Council’s and the developers own narratives around regeneration.

PART II (Afternoon) SESSIONS
How can we resist or alter dynamics of gentrification?
Discussing and exploring knowledge and practical ways and means that propose alternatives to regeneration as gentrification and the accompanying Local Authorities / developers’ consultations:
1 – COUNTERING DISPLACEMENT: countering the displacement of existing communities and the loss of public resources (the discontents of ‘affordable’ housing)
2 – POLITICISING CONSULTATION: resistance to empty consultation and enacting forms of local decision-making
3 – PROPOSING ALTERNATIVES: countering existing narratives of ‘failure and progress’ and promoting
alternative visions

Lunch and tea will be provided, and there may well also be time for walking
around the Heygate Estate and the Better Elephant permanent exhibition.
A finalised programme will be distributed closer to the date.

Facilitation on the day
Time is precious, so we are asking people to be selective with their contributions. Each workshop will be facilitated towards keeping the debate accessible to all and to allow time for all to contribute. Those interested in presenting evidence are asked to liaise with the organizers beforehand.

Participation In The Event:
There is no formal registration process for this event. All you need to do is write to us at:
elephantnotes@yahoo.co.uk

and we will contact you to confirm your participation and what you may be able to bring to this event – evidence, materials, facilitation skills etc.

Travel costs
We are unable to cover travel costs for all participants, but if you are
interested in coming from far and wide, do get in touch and we will
strive to contribute something from our small budget.

Contributions to Southwark Notes Gentrification Archive
We also want to use the event to expand Southwark Notes Gentrification Archive. This open-access archive attempts to hold a record of anti-gentrification struggle for the past 15 years in the North Southwark area. We are archiving books, newspaper cuttings, council brochures and academic publications on the local area as well as the local and global gentrification struggles. Let us know if you can provide us with copies of relevant work or material or if you have suggestions for work we should obtain for the archive. Material can be submitted in any format. If in digital format, we will try to print a hard copy on the day.

After the event
The evidence and discussions of the day will be compiled and a concise summary will be published and distributed for free as a small Southwark Notes pamphlet as well as online, and will include a thematic bibliography of recent research and publications.

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*Southwark Notes Archive Group run this popular anti-gentrification blog Southwark Notes that offers news, analysis and little stabs at the
gentrification of the area: https://southwarknotes.wordpress.com We have also been organising regular anti-gentrification walks, printing postcards, posters, maps and comics, and keeping active on within various groups and campaigns in the ongoing struggle whilst keeping an eye on the history (the mistakes and successes) and the big picture (globalisation, financialisation and all that!). We also maintain all this stuff and news and history in an archive within 56a Infoshop, the local Walworth self-managed community space.

Lend Lease Monster Outline Planning Application – Responses and Objections

We try not to duplicate stories and responses to regeneration plans in The Elephant area that are put up on other local websites but it’s very useful to point in their direction.  So, here, we will share some links with you to the fantastic and detailed personal and community objections to the Lend Lease Outline Planning Application which is due to be heard before the Council later in the year. That’s the planning app for the knocking down of the Heygate Site and for the ‘regeneration’ of a massive chunk of the northern end of Walworth Rd across to New Kent Rd. With no real commitment to replacing the now empty 1100 Heygate Estate homes with genuine affordable housing, this Masterplan is seriously rubbish as it seeks to pile on loads of private homes on that essential close-to-the-Tube Zone 1 property developers dream site. Not to mention the unaccounted effects that increasing the local population by thousands will have on on local schools, transport, doctors and so on.


Wally Rd – From independent shops to chains?

It’s also true that once those who can pay £500,000 for a two bed apartment come in droves to the area, then the Starbucks, Pizza Express and Wagamama chains will arrive close behind and push out the local independent cafes and stores as the landlords see they can make a killing on rent increases. Then Walworth Rd will look and feel like any other boring chain-filled high street and not the diverse and fantastic place it has been for donkey’s years.

• Lend Lease Outline Planning Application objections and responses:

Elephant Amenity Network response
Peoples Republic of Southwark response
Richard Lee personal response (PDF)
Adrian Glasspool personal response (PDF)
Southwark Group of Tenants Organisations and Local TRA’s (PDF)
Southwark Living Streets (PDF)

The Outline Planning Application can be seen here. Warning! It’s made up of 191 documents and so is this almost impossible to comment on unless you have loads of time on your hands and an encyclopaedic brain and a big pencil. But I guess that’s the point really.

You can object to it in a much simpler form by visiting the Elephant 35% Campaign site here and using their online objection form. Their summarised objections are as follows:  “…that the development proposes no affordable housing and no renewable energy generation. The council’s planning policy states clearly that the development should contain a minimum of 35% affordable housing and at least 20% on-site renewable energy provision. I also object to the loss of the large number of mature trees on the site, the high number of parking spaces and the failure to provide essential cycle-route and public transport infrastructure. Finally, I object to the privatisation of the public realm on the site and loss of community facilities.”

Lend Lease takes corporate governance very seriously

Lend Lease, the Australian development company, as you may know by now is the Council-chosen developer behind the knocking down of the Heygate Estate and the proposed regeneration / gentrification of The Elephant. Luckily for us, “Lend Lease takes corporate governance very seriously” says Robert McNamara, the chief executive of Lend Lease in the Americas.

April 25th 2012: Bovis Lend Lease fined $56 million for fraud

“A U.S. subsidiary of the Australia’s Lend Lease Construction has admitted to a 10-year overbilling scheme on New York area projects and will pay $56 million in fines and victim restitution, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Bovis Lend Lease, as the subsidiary was previously known, has its largest U.S. office in New York City, where it employs more than 1,000 people and has worked on projects such as the September 11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan and the Citi Field baseball stadium in Queens.

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn said the company pleaded guilty to criminal charges it had a “systematic practice” between 1999 and 2009 of billing clients — often government agencies — for hours its workers had never worked.

“Today’s proceedings mark the culmination of a three-year investigation into a systematic pattern of audacious fraud by one of the world’s largest construction firms,” FBI Assistant Director in Charge Janice Fedarcyk said in a statement.

Prosecutors said that the former head of Bovis’ New York office, James Abadie, 55, pleaded guilty earlier on Tuesday to charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

Abadie faces up to 20 years in prison. An attorney for Abadie, Stephen Kaufman, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Bovis agreed to pay $56 million in penalties and victim restitution as part of a deferred prosecution agreement made public on Tuesday.

The agreement showed Bovis had accepted responsibility for the fraud and was cooperating with investigators. As part of the agreement, the company would put in place new internal controls to prevent any future misconduct.

“Lend Lease takes corporate governance very seriously and is committed to the highest levels of ethical standards,” Robert McNamara, the chief executive of Lend Lease in the Americas, said in a statement. “We accept responsibility for what happened in the past and have agreed to continue to make restitution to the affected clients.”

Bovis agreed to pay $40.5 million in penalties as well as $13.6 million and $2.5 million to victims of different sets of schemes, the deferred prosecution agreement showed.

In one scheme, Bovis lied about employing construction companies owned by women and minorities to qualify for public projects in New York and New Jersey, court documents said.

The Bovis overbilling scheme concerned projects such as the construction of a criminal court in the Bronx, as well as work on the Brooklyn federal courthouse, the very building in which Bovis was charged”.

Source: Reuters

“Re-blooming-generation!”

The Guardian, July 6th 2012:
‘Let’s move to Elephant & Castle and Walworth’

What’s going for it? It’s had the terrible misfortune to be regenerated twice: once, in the 1960s, to convert its poor residents into car-driving modern citizens; and again today, to reprogramme them into the kind of latte-supping pedestrians you see on architects’ drawings. But it thrives regardless. Though the eponymous roundabout and shopping precinct grab the attention – you can’t miss them – turn the corner on to Walworth Road and what planners and developers didn’t regenerate first time around has magically survived. A miraculous scrap of relatively central London that isn’t wall-to-wall Stradas. You want a thriving, chain-lite high street? Here you are. Even the precinct is like an anti-Westfield, all Colombian cafes and Nigerian nail bars. While tucked behind are little gems: blitz-surviving Victorian terraces, a proper street market, a great dance centre, incredibly good schools. Re-blooming-generation, I ask you. Who needs it?

Full Article Here!