Published on October 30, 2012 | by Jonny Perrin


Still no sign of the new Elephant

The Heygate Estate

Some aren’t convinced by the regeneration plans [Giancarlo De Vita]

Two years after the £1.5 billion regeneration of the Elephant and castle was proposed, visible changes are yet to be seen.

The scheme, put forward on July 23, 2010, was marketed as a 15-year project, with work estimated to be finalised in 2025.

The Heygate Estate still stands – with a few residents still fighting compulsory eviction – as does the shopping and leisure centre.

However, Peter John, Southwark council leader, insists progress is being made.

“The speed of progress at Elephant and Castle is remarkable. I’m delighted that soon, local people will see the long awaited demolition begin [of the Heygate estate], and new homes appear”, he commented in August.


Recent challenges to the project are holding the regenerators back.

Liberal Democrat deputy leader, Simon Hughes, called for the planning application for the Heygate Estate to be withdrawn and reconsidered, on the basis that not enough “truly affordable” homes would be provided.

“I don’t feel that the regeneration is progressive, as it spoils the character of the area” Paul Reas.

Opposition to the project has come from photographer Paul Reas, whose From a Distance exhibition was recently on show at LCC.

“I don’t feel that the regeneration is progressive, as it spoils the character of the area”, Reas commented.

Some residents are expressing their disdain of the regeneration through a Facebook group called ‘Better Elephant’, while websites such as are campaigning against the planning application.

However, the scheme has been praised by former President of the United States, Bill Clinton.

Clinton voiced his support for the 55-acre project, which was named among 16 worldwide projects that will release less carbon dioxide than they use. He described the scheme as “very exciting”.

“I’ve seen the future and I think all these carbon-positive buildings are it”, Clinton said.

The regeneration project is being overseen by Southwark Council, in partnership with several other firms.

Lend Lease will be responsible for the redevelopment of the Heygate Estate and St Mary’s residential areas, Key Project Investments own the shopping centre which is to be completely redeveloped and Oakmayne is the developer for the regeneration around Elephant and Castle railway station.


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