Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre, an irreplaceable culinary and social hub for London’s Latinx and BAME communities, will be shut down by developer Delancey on 30 July this year. The 35 Percent campaign, which advocates for residents and current traders, had made a legal challenge to the plans, but the High Court rejected that appeal just before Christmas, according to Southwark News.
In a report on the culture of the shopping centre written last year, Eater contributor Jonathan Nunn wrote:
It is vital for the predominantly working class and BAME community which shops there — for affordable shoes and discount clothes, haircuts and manicures, vintage records, money transfers, and food.
It is also a vital hub for every Latin American in London, a home away from home. Here it’s possible for a newcomer to the city to find a flat, a job, goods and services, work out how to get a National Insurance Number, or register for the NHS. In many ways the centre is a physical reminder, helping make visible a previously invisible community that in turn has helped transform the centre over the last 20 years from mostly empty into a success story of BAME and Latin American enterprise.
The planning permission for the centre, approved by London mayor Sadiq Khan in December 2018 and coming in at £2 billion, initially promised that 35 percent of housing built would be at social rent, but currently only 116 out of almost 1,000 builds qualify, with that figure contingent on a part of the development whose construction timeline stretches out as far as a decade from now. Promises about affordable rent units for restaurant businesses and retailers continue to mutate through secrecy, while Delancey says the news offers “certainty” to traders, despite provisions of space for relocation remaining unclear.