The Revival of Elephant and Castle - Special Report and Interview

Once regarded for its thriving shopping areas and referred to as 'the Piccadilly Circus of South London' by locals in the years before the war, Elephant and Castle is poised for a dramatic property comeback...

Once regarded for its thriving shopping areas and referred to as 'the Piccadilly Circus of South London' by locals in the years before the war, Elephant and Castle is poised for a dramatic property comeback. Like so much of London today the area is working to establish itself as one of London's best places to invest and live.

The area, also called the 'Elephant' is now subject to a master-planned redevelopment budgeted at £1.5 billion after the Development Framework was approved by Southwark Council in 2004.

The plan is to restore the Elephant to the role of major urban commercial and residential area for South London. An additional boost comes from the £4 billion capital commitment from Mayor Boris Johnson and the Roads Task Force to be used in road improvements for Elephant and Castle and other locations in London.

Boris Johnson, commenting on the infrastructure improvements said "Smarter design of our roads and public spaces, exemplified by our radical plans for Elephant & Castle, will play a key role in ensuring that London remains the best big city to live, work and invest. We've been hard at work putting the bold and imaginative blueprint of the Road's Task Force into practice and we're now seeing the fruits of that labour at key locations across the capital."

Jeremy Leach, Chair of Living Streets, said the changes mean Elephant & Castle could now be revived. He said, "For 50 years pedestrians and cyclists have been intimidated by fast moving traffic which pushed them to the margins of what used to be the thriving Piccadilly Circus of the south and has left them as an after thought. The plan to remove the northern roundabout at the Elephant & Castle is welcome and, if done properly to provide a truly safe environment for pedestrians and cyclists, these changes can help to encourage many more people to walk and cycle through the area every day."

Additionally, the Northern Line extension for the new Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station tube stations and to other well known London areas are close enough to help give the Elephant a boost for the popularity of its location.

Upon exiting the Elephant and Castle tube station you quickly notice the construction of a new tower, One - The Elephant. A Lend Lease project, in partnership with Southwark Council, the new residential towers being built will consist of 37 stories with 287 apartments from studios to 1, 2 and 3 bedroom homes with balconies and terraces. Also being constructed adjacent to the tower is a new leisure and sports complex.

Other plans include an expansion of the Shopping Centre that is next to the Elephant and Castle tube. Built in the 1960's the Shopping Centre was hailed as the first covered shopping mall in Europe. It was due to be demolished in 2012 but still stands at this time. Expansion and renovation of the Elephant's tube station will be needed to handle the demand of new residents and commercial activity.

Other Lend Lease developments for the area include Elephant Park, South Gardens. This is part of the Trafalgar Place featuring first new homes of the Heygate Estate regeneration. South Gardens comprises 360 homes from three storey houses to a sixteen storey tower. Residences include one, two, three, and four-bedroom homes with prices starting at £380,000 for a one-bedroom apartment. Similar to One - The Elephant, all the homes will include a private balcony, terrace or private garden along with great views of city skyline.

Pascal Mittermaier, Lend Lease's Project Director for Elephant & Castle, says on the firm's website, "Elephant & Castle is fast-becoming one of the most sought after places to live in London and the homes we are creating at Elephant Park will be some of the most sustainable and energy efficient ever built in Britain."

As Elephant and Castle moves forward issues have arisen, such as affordable housing agreements, provision of education and health facilities, transportation and the quality of life for current and future residents. I met with Jeremy Leach, Chair of Southwark Living Streets to discuss the impact of some of these changes.

So what does this mean for the residents? Jeremy Leach explains in this interview his views of the development plans.

More reports by Kevin Murphy on projects underway in London coming soon - including another update on the progress at Battersea Power Station.

Want to find other up and coming areas in London? Take a look at our top 10 areas to watch in London

- Wednesday 04 June 2014

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