Dear Southwark Planning,
I am writing to object to the planning application for the redevelopment of the shopping centre and LCC campus at the Elephant & Castle (ref:16/AP/4458).
This application does not propose a policy compliant affordable housing mix. Southwark's policy for the Elephant & Castle requires a minimum of 35% affordable housing, of which 50% should be social rented. The applicant's offer does not make any provision for social rented housing or any payment in-lieu. The applicant has submitted a viability appraisal, arguing that providing social rented housing would render the development unviable, but despite the Council's new transparency policy this has still not been made public.
Given that the development is coming forward as a result of the Council's own planning directives and given that the developer is an offshore company registered in the BVI and Bermuda, there is a greater need for transparency - especially so given that the application is not policy compliant.
Affordable retail & existing traders:
Paragraph 5.1.7 of the Council's planning policy (E&C SPD), requires a number of "affordable retail units which are made available to existing occupiers displaced by development", in order to "ensure that development opportunities provide opportunities for existing and future SME businesses". However, the applicant has made no provision for any affordable retail in its application and makes vague reference only to a 'relocation strategy' for existing retailers - it provides no detail on what this 'relocation strategy' entails.
In October 2015, Southwark resolved to undertake an Equalities Impact Assessment, in order to fulfill its Public Sector Equality Duty to the shopping centre traders and explore how the impact of the redevelopment can be mitigated. However, this assessment was never undertaken, the Council is thus neglecting its duty and allowing Delancey to progress the scheme without incorporating the existing traders.
Delancey has dismissed the campaign to save The Coronet theatre. The Coronet takes up a sizeable part of the shopping centre site and is a popular music and event venue. The building dates back to 1872 and is a popular local institution. The Theatres Trust has objected to its demolition as have local preservation groups, on the basis of its Art Deco interior and exterior, which currently remains hidden behind its blue corrugated facade.
Please register my objection and keep me informed should any of the above shortcomings be addressed and the planning applications amended accordingly.