Displaced Traders

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As expected the shopping centre is to be demolished and just 10% of the redeveloped site will be 'affordable retail' with sub-market rents for the first 15 years. Delancey's planning statement{:target="_blank"} contends that 'it is recognised that some existing retailers in the area are benefitting from disproportionately low levels of rent...' and concludes that 'it may not be financially viable for them to survive in the area in the longer term'.

Delancey's neighbouring development Elephant One was supposed to provide affordable retail space for some of the displaced traders. In 2015, we revealed{:target="_blank"} how Delancey had successfully lobbied the Council to change the conditions of its planning permission to switch some of these units for a Sainsbury's.

Ater their failure to get their plans approved in Jan 2018, Delancey agreed to provide a temporary retail 'box park' at discounted rents, using shipping containers at neighbouring Castle Square, which is on council-owned land but leased to Delancy on a peppercorn rent and a share of the revenue from the Square's future street market.

The Castle Square facility would last for 5 years, or until the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre development has been completed.

The facility is small consolation for the traders, who have objected that the proposed building is too small and would have trading restrictions that would make it an impractical premises for many of the displaced businesses. Delancey's proposals mention 33 independent traders, while the trader's own estimate is that there is a need to provide for nearly 100 traders. While a late concession set the rent levels at £18-£24psf, other issues remain, including the level of service charges, the security of tenacy arrangements and selection criteria. Castle Square and the other potential relocation site options (including Perronet House, Elephant One, and Elephant Park) provide about two-thirds of the space traders need.

In April 2019, it was reported that only 36 of the 79 traders in the shopping centre and market have been offered temporary relocation space and that the market traders in the outskirts of the centre had been largely ignored. We subsequently found that Lendlease has been refusing to allocate traders to the designated affordable retail space in its neighbouring 'Elephant Park' development.

In 2005, Southwark was slated by Lord Ouseley after an independent review{:target="_blank"} found that its regeneration policies failed retailers and traders from BME communities. These failings clearly continue.

In September 2020 the shopping centre closed its doors for the last time. [Research] by Latin Elephant showed that around 40 traders had been left without any relocation space. Read more about the traders here and here.