Elephant and Castle

Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre Independent Business and Relocation Advisor

Following an equalities analysis of the Elephant and Castle shopping centre, the council set out a range of mitigation projects in a Cabinet report agreed on 7 May 2017, including the role of an independent business and relocation advisor who was appointed in June 2017. The latest update on the various mitigation projects is set out below as updated in December 2018.

What are the plans for the shopping centre?

The shopping centre is owned by Delancey who have applied to the council to redevelop it. This development will include a new shopping centre, a new entrance to the Underground, a new building for the London College of Communications and 1000 new flats. Delancey are currently seeking full planning permission for this. 

In July 2018 the council’s planning committee voted for a resolution to grant permission, which is the first stage of this process. The application will be examined by the Mayor of London for approval. If full planning permission is granted, the owners will be required to keep the centre open for at least six months to allow tenants time to relocate. You can view the full planning application at https://planning.southwark.gov.uk/online-applications/, reference 16/AP/4458.

Why has Tree Shepherd been employed to work with traders at Elephant and Castle?

Southwark Council tendered to appoint an independent business and relocation advisor and appointed Tree Shepherd in June 2017. The role of the advisor is to support traders affected by Delancey’s planned redevelopment of the shopping centre to prepare to move out of their current premises and find new premises in the surrounding area.

What is Tree Shepherd?

Tree Shepherd is a not-for-profit limited company by guarantee. The company works in communities to help people create new opportunities and supporting businesses facing the pressures of change. They work with small businesses to help them grow their confidence, share ideas and knowledge, set up businesses, trade together and ultimately employ other people.

Is Tree Shepherd independent?

Tree Shepherd is commissioned by, and reports to, Southwark Council to deliver its objective of supporting the trader community through this disruptive period. Delancey is obliged by the council to cover the costs of this business support, as outlined in the planning application, but does not control the work Tree Shepherd does.

Which traders are Tree Shepherd working with?

Tree Shepherd’s business support is for all affected independent businesses within the development area - meaning all existing independently owned businesses, traders, kiosk holders, restaurants, market stall holders and charities.

Will businesses have to move within the Elephant and Castle Area or risk losing support?

No. Tree Shepherd is commissioned to provide support to all businesses within the defined area irrespective of where they want to move.

Is information about the businesses kept confidential?

Yes. All conversations with Tree Shepherd are confidential. Some basic, essential and non-confidential information such as the type and size of the business and levels of engagement with Tree Shepherd, are shared with the council to ensure the contract is being delivered, but nothing private or financial.

How do Tree Shepherd operate in the shopping centre?

Tree Shepherd is contracted to deliver outreach and advice services, which they do two days per week on average. There have been some staff changes over the summer but these have been resolved and there is now a core team working with the traders.

The opening times vary in response to trader needs and are clearly displayed around the office. To get the best bespoke service traders should book an appointment, which can be at the office or at another location convenient to the trader.

Where will businesses be able to relocate to?

There will be affordable space available at four close-by locations - Perronet House, Castle Square, Elephant One, and Elephant Park - and centre traders will have the first option to apply for these spaces and any further opportunities that come forward.

Perronet House, Elephant One, and Elephant Park are permanent locations, while Castle Square will be a purpose built facility for the duration of the shopping centre redevelopment. All traders will also have the option to apply as a priority to the rebuilt shopping centre on affordable rents.

In addition, there will be a database of properties available for nearby locations such as Walworth Road and the East Street Market.

Traders are also free to relocate outside of these areas, and this will not affect their access to business planning support or the relocation fund.

When will the properties shown to traders on the tours be ready?

Extensive tours of prospective sites have been organised to show traders so they can plan their future. A range of affordable business spaces is being made available to the centre traders including a new retail centre at Perronet House, which already has planning consent and should be opened in summer 2019, and affordable space at Elephant One, which is already built. The first of Elephant Park’s affordable premises are already available and a planning application has been submitted for more new space at Castle Square. Centre traders will have the first option to apply for these spaces and any further opportunities that come forward over the next few months.

Will business be able to return to the shopping centre when it is built?

The planning agreement guarantees that 10% of the retail in the new shopping centre will be affordable, and any independent business currently trading there who is displaced by the development will have first right to apply for one of those affordable units.

What is Tree Shepherd’s role in relocating businesses?

Tree Shepherd will help businesses plan for the future and if they wish to relocate to one of the nearby sites, provide guidance for the application process. This process will be managed by the council and the developer. Tree Shepherd will not decide which business relocates or to where.

What does the council think about the impact of the development of the centre?

Southwark Council has been clear from the start that the development of the centre should complement the wider area, build on the diversity of the Elephant and Castle and have provision for smaller, independent traders to operate from the new centre. The council is committed to enabling the largest possible number of existing businesses to remain in the area and has obliged the developer to make sensible provision for them - from new premises to business support and advice. For many smaller traders this is an opportunity to grow and develop their business.

Page last updated: 16 April 2019