Southwark gives Delancey a helping hand

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As we anticipated in our last blogpost Delancey missed the deadline for completing the legal S106 agreement that seals the planning approval for the shopping centre's demolition and redevelopment.

Missing the deadline put the power of refusing the redevelopment application back into the Southwark Council's hands, a decision it had every reason to take, given, amongst other things, Delancey's failure to secure planning approval of Castle Square, the temporary relocation facility for traders. Planning sub-committee B deferred a decision on the application to 7 January, to allow officers time to 'corroborate rent level paid by traders' and to check whether they would be paying more or less rent, if they moved to Castle Sq.

Southwark have ignored both Delancey's failures, to conclude the S106 and secure Castle Square, and instead sent them a comforting letter, saying that it had no intention of refusing the shopping centre application, because "all of the 'substantive requirements'" of the S106 had been met. Southwark generously tells Delancey that Castle Square was "now not in your control" , implying that Southwark itself is at fault, for not passing the application, rather than putting the responsibility where it should be - with Delancey, for not submitting an application that the committee could pass, with the confidence that it met the traders' needs.

Southwark further reassures Delancey that there will be an "officer recommendation for approval" of the application, which raises a question of how much weight any new data on rent will actually be given.

Southwark's letter does not entertain the notion that the Castle Square application can be rejected, but rather says that "we will complete the section 106 agreement as and when planning permission is granted..." . In a response to campaigners' objections to its letter, Southwark says that the phrase '"as and when"...acknowledged the fact that permission might not be granted' , an interpretation that is not easy to agree with, in the absence of an 'if'.

What Southwark should have said...

When Delancey failed to meet the S106 deadline for the shopping centre, Southwark should have refused the centre planning application. Short of this, it could still have reminded Delancey that they needed to secure the Castle Square approval and to do so must address the objections of the traders.

Instead Southwark has done the traders a great disservice, by the comforting message that it has sent Delancey. The improvements to the shopping centre scheme, such as the increase in the social rented housing and the trader relocation strategy, were only won during a deferral of that application, but the incentive for Delancey to repeat this has now been undermined. It is also arguable that the intention of both the main planning committee and sub-committee B of securing adequate mitigation for the traders has also been undermined.

Time for Planning sub-committee B to step up

The reality of the loss of the shopping centre has long been apparent, but is now beginning to strike home. The traders' future livelihoods depend on a robust relocation strategy, including a satisfactory Castle Square facility, and Delancey are not providing this. Planning sub-committee B will need to assert itself on 7 January and show it won't be bounced into approving the Castle Square application.

You can a help them reach the right decision by

-signing this petition calling on the Lead Member for Planning Johnson Situ to refuse the Elephant application now.

-objecting using our online objection form

-joining us on 7 January in support of the traders’ demands - for space at rents that allows all of them to continue their businesses and to earn a living for themselves and their families.