For the past 5 years, Peabody Housing Association has sat on a 2.5-acre site at Elephant & Castle known as Borough Triangle. This large triangle of land sits between Southbank University, Borough road and the Crown Court on Newington Causeway and is earmarked for providing 700 new homes and new retail space.

Whilst most of the site is empty and listed for redevelopment, the IPSOS MORI buildings, Baptist church on Borough road and London School of Musical Theatre will be retained. The Georgian-built Institute of Optometry and Court Cafe will both be demolished under Peabody’s plans.

The shops and warehouse spaces on the remainder of the site will also be demolished. These are currently being used as a temporary Pop-up food hall ‘Mercato Metropolitano’.

Being redeveloped by a housing association, we originally had high hopes that this site would provide the desperately needed social rented housing that local people need. Unfortunately Peabody only wants to build the minimum 35% ‘affordable’ housing requirement on this site. Whether this will comply with Southwark’s policy of providing half of which as social rent remains to be seen. Elsewhere in London Peabody appears to have followed the trend of going for the more profitable ‘affordable rented’ housing with rents of up to 80% market rent. It has also followed the trend of fudging and misleading about the precise nature of the affordable housing it is providing. In its Housing Statement for its initial (subsequently withdrawn) planning application in 2014, Peabody stated that it will be providing 96 intermediate units (16.7% of total) and 78 units at affordable rent (16.5% of total).

Elsewhere in Southwark Peabody has assisted in the ongoing project of taking the social out of social rent