We are local people who aren’t particularly happy about what is going on in the name of ‘regeneration‘. If we seem particularly negative about things, it’s not because we think regeneration is always a bad thing. It’s just seems to us that it’s always a bad thing when local people’s needs are only superficially understood and cared about. What happens when local people are ridden over roughshod can easily be demonstrated: Take a look back at the ‘regeneration’ of Covent Garden, Wapping, Spitalfields, Shoreditch, Hoxton and take a look at what’s going on now in Hackney and Dalston. These have been disastrous for local people who want to keep decent council housing and the local community of open spaces and shops that goes with it.

Regeneration and gentrification are two subtle different but interlinked processes. Regeneration is always sold to us with the myth of the trickle-down theory of wealth creation. It’s supposed to be in our interest as something might come our way. But what might come is always only mere crumbs from the table of those with the power and the money. Regeneration is often a forced and false consensus rather than a genuine public debate. Gentrification is never in our interest as it’s the displacement of the original poorer inhabitants by wealthier ones. The results of this switch is always evictions for us, closure of local shops and amenities and deterioration of the communal life that is the lifeblood of us all. Where regeneration crosses over with gentrification is where the replacement of council estates with new mixed residential buildings results in a decrease in local social housing as land is sold off to private developers for profit.

We don’t think it’s wrong to demand that a regeneration scheme enhances the quality of our lives. We don’t think it’s wrong to oppose gentrification. In this way it turns out that our negativity is really only a mask for our positive wish for all of us to live our lives free from those who pretend to act in our interests but are only ever about giving even more of what we’ve got away to those who already have too much.

By the way, we are 100% independent of any political party or group. We are happy to talk to people who feel the same way we do: elephantnotes@yahoo.co.uk


Moaning is the beginning. Actually doing something about it is the next step…WHAT WE THINK:>

What can we say! Over the last ten years some sort of local opposition to the selling off of publically-owned land and estates has become piecemeal and almost invisible. As we say elsewhere in these pages, it’s not that local people are opposed to regeneration but it’s time once again for local people to be part of the political processes that affect them the most. The folks around the Amenity Charter are a coalition of local residents and local groups. It seems like a great basis for a more active opposition to what’s going on locally. We recommended people looking at their website and contacting them on their email address and going along to their informative and useful monthly meetings – see their site for date and venue!



Elephant & Castle Regeneration: Charter for Community Inclusion and a Better Quality of Life for All

In March 2009 a new “Elephant & Castle Regeneration Charter for Community Inclusion and a Better Quality of Life for All” was  launched by local people and businesses.

Here’s the charter:

We, the communities and traders of the Elephant and Castle, are being excluded from the multi-billion-pound regeneration being led by Southwark Council.

The redevelopment of the core area is subject to a private deal with Lend Lease, who are drawing up the masterplan for the area. No information on the masterplan and none of its details has been given to us since the Development Framework of 2004.

Meanwhile, the council is building “Early Housing” developments on our much needed open space, green space & play areas, as well as removing our local amenity shops, garages, residents’ parking spaces and other community facilities and substantially reducing levels of daylight for many residents.

Three quarters of the homes in these new developments will not be for the Heygate Tenants, despite this being an explicit rationale for their inclusion in the Southwark Plan, but for private sale. We believe that the regeneration process must be fair, just, and socially inclusive, and must provide for affordable housing and a better quality of life for all current and future residents of the area.

Our specific requests are set out under three principles below.

Principle 1: Open Masterplanning

For Southwark Council, and its development partners, to operate an “open masterplan” policy. That is, to enter into a development process for the site that is democratic and actively involves the local community. Specific actions requested include:

The developers and the Council to hold a public meeting to explain the masterplan, its benefits and how they will involve the local population in future steps in this process.

Principle 2: Benefits for All

To extend the benefits of the regeneration to the existing population. Specifically:

  • To demonstrate how the planned increases in population and employment will be matched by increases in accessible green space, play space, community facilities and safe walking and cycling routes across the regeneration area. Specifically to identify how the amenities that are to be lost for the New Housing sites will be re-provided with safe and reasonable access for their user catchments
  • For the sustainable strategy for the new buildings to be designed not just for the inhabitants of the new blocks but also to benefit existing residents;To develop, with local people, a strategy for green space and play space and local food production that extends throughout the regeneration area and to apply this to the masterplanning process;
  • To undertake a Strategic Environmental Assessment of the entire regeneration area including the Early Housing Sites;
  • To commit to keeping all open space as fully public access at all times – no “semi private space” and no restrictions on access to the general public through gating.
  • To retain and improve local shops and services reflecting community richness and diversity (this includes East Street market and the traders at the Shopping Centre)

Principle 3: Housing that really is Affordable

Recent (early 2009) discussions with the Housing and Communities Agency, indicate that greater public funding will be needed to save the regeneration. In addition, Southwark must fulfil its promise to replace the 1212 council homes lost by the demolition of the Heygate Estate with the same number of social rented units (preferably council housing) in the new developments. Therefore, as was originally envisaged by Southwark:

  • 50% of all Elephant & Castle housing developments must be social rented by unit, with half the remaining homes intermediate, half for sale
  • 75% of all Early Housing sites should be social rented by unit, with the remainder intermediate, as based on the original tender.
  • There must be no evictions or forced removals from the Heygate estate or elsewhere.  Tenants should be allowed to move directly to the Early Housing sites or given enough time to find accommodation acceptable to them through Homesearch.


Richard Lee, Townsend St
Luke Miller, Friends of Nursery Row Park
Jerry Flynn, Heygate Estate
Vally Wilson, Rodney Road shops
Celia Cronin, Victory Community Garden
Al-Issa Munu, Rockingham /Harper Road
Geoff Adams, Defend Council Housing in Southwark
Nicole Woodbridge
Abayomi Noble, Comus House/Townsend St
John Obwona, Swan Mead/ Leroy Street
Amele Getan, Heygate Estate
Tony McCarthy, Leroy Street
Henry Mott, Southwark Defend Council Housing
Nicole and Jim Beedell, Friends of Nursery Row Park
Gill Manock, St Johns / Brandon Street
Gary Malloy, (Rodney T&RA]
Orenda O’Brian Davis, Webber Row T&RA
Paul Yarrow
Sofia Roupakia, Draper House
Steve Crawford
Lucinda Martin, Library Street
Steph and Jim Lodge, SFoE
Carole Wright, Library St / BOST
David Glue, Abbey St
Barbara Green,  Chris and Laura Harrod-Green, Brandon St
Michelle Baharrier, Cooltan Arts
Angela Molloy, Balfour St
Edward Carter, Marnock House
Jill Newham
Yvonne Castelle
Thomas Magill
Iain Staffell, Nursery Row Park / Markets
Jack Willcocks
Antonin Pujol
Liliana Dmitrovic, Ari Henry, People’s Republic of Southwark

To sign up and / or get involved:

The Amenity Charter is also online here


We found this snippet in the great book called  ‘The Reckoning: Public Loss, Private Gain” written by a group called Workers City who had managed to achieve some succesful results against the wholesale development (looting!) of Glasgow for the disastrous City of Culture rip-off in 1990.

Here they were commenting on the newly emerging but obviously flawed faith in development partnerships between Central and Local government and private business.

Glasgow District Council came to accept these urban ‘partnerships’, ultimately with enthusiasm and great commitment. As one observer commented, ‘when developers visited the City, they used to creep in at the side door, now the councillors bring em in at the front door, one on each arm’. Not only had it become respectable for councillors to be seen with developers but it soon became imperative to be involved with them. Indeed, it got to the stage where councillors and developers became indistinguishable. The only way that they could be told apart was that the developer was always talking and the councillor was forever nodding his or her head‘.