A deputation of shopping centre traders are due to attend Southwark Council’s Assembly meeting tomorrow, to demand fair treatment from developer Delancey and the Council. This follows Delancey’s announcement that it intends to close the centre on 30 July 2020. All the businesses in the centre, including the market traders, must move before then, but despite a relocation package about 60 traders still have nowhere to go, according to research by local charity Latin Elephant. Representatives from Latin Elephant and Southwark Law Centre will be joining the traders on the deputation.

The trader’s deputation will present seven demands to the Assembly, which is a meeting of all Southwark’s councillors. These are the traders’ demands;

  1. that the shopping centre is not closed until every independent trader is relocated or receives financial compensation. The independent traders have been at the heart of the Elephant and Castle for decades. The Elephant regeneration is trumpeted as a great benefit for the local community and local people; if this is to be true then all the independent traders must be fairly treated, with either new premises or compensation.

  2. that Delancey increases the relocation fund. This is currently £634,700 with traders having to demonstrate ‘hardship’ for Delancey to consider increasing the amount beyond this.

  3. that the rent and service charge costs of the relocation options are brought into line with each other. Of the four main relocation options the most expensive, Perronet House, is owned by Southwark Council. The others are owned by either Delancey (Castle Square, Elephant One) or fellow developer Lendlease (Elephant Park) and have lower rents and service charges.

  4. that the businesses in Arch 7 are fully included in the relocation strategy and can draw from the relocation fund. Railway arches 6 and 7, beneath the shopping centre, are due to be knocked through, displacing established businesses, but they do not qualify for relocation support.

  5. that the market traders around the centre are equally and fairly treated and that all traders get the benefit of rent reductions, until the shopping centre closes. Rent reductions made because of the disruption to trade have not been passed on to the market traders.

  6. that the independent business adviser, Tree Shepherd, applies the agreed criteria for the allocation of relocation spaces in a fair and transparent way. Longstanding traders have not been offered alternative premises or have been offered premises not suitable for their businesses.

  7. that the database of opportunities reflects what was agreed on the approval of planning permission. This database should give information about vacant premises within a mile of the centre and within Southwark, but many do not meet these criteria.

Support the traders - demonstrate!

There will be a demonstration, organised by the Up The Elephant campaign, in support of the traders’ deputation to Southwark Council’s first assembly meeting of the year on Tuesday 28 January Southwark Council Head Offices, Tooley St 6pm - everyone who wants a fairer, inclusive regeneration at the Elephant is welcome.