Elephant and Castle

Elephant Park

Elephant Park block
Elephant Park

In November 2014, a significant milestone in the history of the regeneration of Elephant and Castle (former Heygate Estate) took place with the demolition of the:

  • former Ashenden, Kingshill, Wansey and Swanbourne blocks, south of Heygate Street
  • former Marston, Risborough, Claydon, and Cuddington blocks, north of Heygate street

The site, now known as Elephant Park, is being redeveloped by Lend Lease into:

  • 3,000 brand new homes
  • a new park which will be Central London’s largest in 70 years
  • retail space
  • community facilities

For more information about Elephant Park as well as images and news, visit the development webpage .

History of Heygate Estate

Heygate Estate

The former estate, built in the 1970s, was home to more than 3000 people. Due to a range of physical design challenge, such as poor security, low energy efficiency and environmental issues, we agreed to rehouse residents and completely demolish the estate to make way for a regeneration of the area.

The rehousing of residents began in 2008. The estate was first fully secured in preparation for demolition, which was undertaken in two phases and completed in November 2014.

Trafalgar Place

The demolition of the former Rodney Road and Wingrave blocks were undertaken in early 2011 and formally completed in May 2011. Lend Lease, our strategic regeneration partner, have now completed the construction of the Trafalgar place development on this site. For more information, visit the Trafalgar Place website.

Elephant Park redevelopment site interim use programme

Along with our development partner Lend Lease, we've agreed to bring forward a programme of temporary uses on the site. The programme is intended to bring early regeneration benefits to the area and generate activity during the redevelopment phase of the scheme. 

The objective of this initiative is to deliver schemes which will provide flexible and easy to let temporary accommodation for up to 5 years. These accommodations can generate early regeneration benefits for the local community in the form of business, training and employment opportunities.

Ongoing project: Mobile Gardeners Park

A temporary space at the eastern end of Wansey Street has been created by and for the community for gardening and local events. The appropriately named 'Mobile Gardener's are able to move around the site in line with the development phasing. They were on the move in autumn 2014 to make way for the first phase of Elephant Park - South Gardens. The gardeners will move to a large area within the northern part of the Elephant Park site just to the south of Crossway church.

You find out more about Mobile Gardeners website.

Ongoing project: Artworks

Artworks is a new arts and creative business community consisting of refurbished shipping containers. These containers are rented to selected retailers, artisans and creative start-ups in order to create a new innovative business community.

The space includes:

  • a new café with exciting street food offer
  • a bar which is being run by Longwave
  • our relocated Newington temporary Library

The project is temporary and will run for just under five years - but the plan is for successful Artworks tenants to move into the new spaces being created by the Elephant and Castle regeneration of 'Elephant Park'.

Interested occupiers should contact The Art Works or call 020 3143 3948 for further details.

Hotel Elephant

Hotel Elephant is an art gallery, project and studio space, which was located in the former clubroom on Brandon Street until December 2013. This has since moved to a site at 18 Newington Causeway.

You can find more information about Hotel Elephant here.


In 2013, the Elephant and Castle’s annual festival held a number of its events on the site of the former Heygate Estate. You can find more information about Elefest here.

Former Heygate residents 'Right to Return'

Ex-residents of the Heygate Estate have been given the 'Right to Return' to the new developments built at the Elephant & Castle area. Thus, they have priority to apply for these properties over other applicants on our housing list. We're working closely with the Housing Associations providing these properties, having already held open days for ex-Heygate residents to come and view the new developments and express interest if they wish.

If you're a former Heygate Estate tenant who has signed a right to return agreement and you're waiting to be re-housed, read our frequently asked questions below. They provide information about the re-housing process and when new developments will be ready.

Any further queries, contact the Housing Solutions team at 0207 525 0723 or email us.

Frequently Asked Questions

 1. The Right to Return Agreement

 1.1 What is the guaranteed right to return and what does it mean to me?

The guaranteed right to return gives you the opportunity to move back into the Elephant and Castle area once the proposed new housing has been completed. It will provide legal assurance to return within the next seven years.

Originally, the plan was for residents to move into the new housing immediately, therefore enabling residents to move only once. However, as explained in the covering letter, rapid rehousing of residents has meant that the estate has become undesirable from a community safety perspective. As a result, the deadline for rehousing all residents was updated to September 2009 to minimise the potential for crime and antisocial behaviour.

As the new housing hasn't yet been completed in accordance with this new deadline, residents will need to move twice if they wish to return into the new housing within the Elephant and Castle area. All secure tenants who wish to return to the area will be entitled to the legal right to return. Even if you sign the right to return, you're under no obligation to return should your situation or preferences change and you find suitable accommodation elsewhere.

1.2 Where will the new properties be situated?

The new housing will be situated across the regenerated Elephant and Castle area. We'll make you an offer of one property within this area. However, if you choose to dispute this offer you'll have the right to appeal, as per the lettings policy.

1.3  How will the council know and consider my housing needs?

Our Case Management team have been working closely with residents to ensure that they find suitable accommodation to move into. Taking this into consideration, when the new builds are ready, we'll allocate properties to each household which will include any of these housing requirements and site preferences. These would have been initially recognised and recorded during the referencing process. However, we may contact you at the time the new properties are available, to re-confirm your housing requirements and any reasonable aspirations.

As stated in the legal undertaking, tenants will be informed of the proposed method of allocation.

1.4  Why are residents given seven years to exercise the right to return but the council has the right to defer the allocation of new property?

We reserve the right to defer the allocation of new property only in the event that there's an insufficient supply of new property appropriate to tenants' needs available within the seven year timescale.

Residents are given seven years to return to the Elephant and Castle area if new housing is available for them. This gives residents enough time to decide whether they'd like to stay in the area they've already moved into or move back into the Elephant and Castle area.

1.5  How will I know when the new properties are available once I've made my first move?

We'll keep a record of your new address to ensure that contact can be made with you when the new builds are ready to move into.

1.6  When will the new homes be available?

Homes are available for sale now visit Elephant Park website.

1.7  Will the extra-bedroom policy be available in the new social housing?

Residents who have utilised the extra bedroom policy will still be entitled to this when they're offered a new property in the Elephant and Castle area. The legal right to return will encompass this preference and ensure the extra bedroom is offered to those who are entitled to it.

1.8  Will I be entitled to an additional home-loss payment if I make a second move back into the Elephant and Castle area?

Residents returning to the Elephant and Castle area within the next seven years will be entitled to a home loss and disturbance payment. This will cover the further disturbance costs you entail from making the second move.

2. Your New Tenancy

2.1 Who will be my landlord?

If you choose to exercise your right to return you'll become a tenant of the respective housing association. Tenancy management issues, repairs and rent collection will be undertaken by them and not us.

2.2 What type of tenancy will I have?

Housing Associations issue Assured Tenancies and the housing association cannot evict you without reason. You must apply to court to do so, as is the case with secure council tenancies. You should speak with the relevant housing associations for further information.

2.3 How to I express an interest in a particular development?

The Heygate re-housing programme outlines each development, its location and how many properties they contain. We'll be contacted by the housing association prior to the completion of the development. Households on our right to return list will be invited to an open day. If, after attending the open day, you wish to be considered for that property you must provide your details to any of our staff in attendance. If you cannot attend the open day, you can still express an interest by contacting us on one of the numbers listed below.

2.4 How does an expression of interest become an acceptance?

Once the open day has closed, the list of households who expressed an interest will be put in order according to the time they originally left the Heygate. Those who left first will be offered the property first. If there's greater demand than there are properties, those who are unsuccessful will be able to express an interest in the next development.

2.5 What if I express an interest and then change my mind?

This may not be a problem if you tell us very soon after expressing your interest. However, if you've been nominated to the Housing Association, we're within our rights to remove you from the list. Each household is allowed one nomination only.

2.6 Can everyone be re-housed?

While we can't guarantee that every household will get their first choice for accommodation, there are more properties than there are households on our right to return list, so everyone will have the opportunity to move back to the Elephant and Castle area under right to return.

2.7 Who can I contact for further information

London Borough of Southwark

  • Lettings Team - 0207 525 2948 / 0207 525 0723  
  • Elephant & Castle Regeneration Team - 0207 525 4954

Housing providers

Page last updated: 30 January 2020