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Re-development of the Elephant and Castle area

publication date: Jan 18, 2008
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elephantElephant and Castle has often been perceived as being merely a crossing point from the City to South London, the congested roundabout can leave one with a negative feeling about the place. Things are all set to change and for the better. The roundabout is to become a Civic Square at the heart of a major redevelopment. The Civic Square will be the meeting point of all transport systems, tubes, buses and trams will all converge there. It will be surrounded by trees and there will be two tall residential towers to the south reinforcing the identity of the space. The developers say that this is going to be a development on a grand scale!

The largest ever development by a single London Borough The most dramatic changes in the grand scheme to regenerate Elephant & Castle include creating a pedestrian extension to Walworth Road, rebuilding the station with better access and a glazed station concourse, a town park will exist to the east of the station surrounded by housing and a new City Academy overlooking the redeveloped St Mary’s Churchyard. Southwark Council is set to spend £1.5billion over the next seven years. This is the largest ever development by a single London Borough which covers a massive 170 acres of land. The primary intention of which is to improve the neighbourhood. The leader of Southwark Council Nick Stanton says “The Elephant will, once again become a jewel in London’s Crown. Within a few years it will have become a newly vibrant quarter of one of the most dynamic capital cities of the world!”

The large and often criticised shopping centre is to be demolished as is the brutal 1960s Heygate Estate; the residents will be re-housed in high quality social housing stock. A new town park is to become the focus to a new residential quarter with the opportunity to have a number of retail and café users. There are 6600 additional homes to be built along with 75000m2 of modern retail and leisure facilities. The Walworth Road will become pedestrianised at the Northern End and will allow for an uninterrupted walkway to the new Civic Square. The station arches are to be redeveloped to give some additional retail space and the railway line and station will remain overhead allowing access underneath for cyclists and pedestrians.

There is great news culturally with much more to come. A major residential development is to be built with a good number of affordable housing units which will have at ground level a new permanent home for the Southwark Playhouse the innovative local fringe theatre. The playhouse was founded in 1993 in Southwark Bridge Road and remained there until 2006. First Base, the developers, will provide the theatre company with a shell on a 125 year lease (which it will have to fit out at its own expense). The new theatre will seat 200 people and will have space for daytime educational work as well as evening performances; an excellent facility for the people of Southwark. It has also been announced that the London College of Fashion is to relocate to the Elephant & Castle adding to an even greater concentration of creative business.

Investors watching progress!

With such extensive residential and commercial redevelopment occurring in the next 7 years here it is not surprising that many people are keen to invest in the area. Despite much comment in the national press with regard to house prices and a cooling market, regeneration areas such as Elephant & Castle and Kings Cross are generally immune to these fluctuations. The reason for this is two fold; firstly buyers are often looking for the medium term as far as investment and are therefore willing to take a longterm view. Secondly the sheer size of the investment coming to the area through public and government funding ensures an almost guaranteed recession proof investment as the area changes fundamentally for the better.

Carl Davenport, Manager at Chesterton’s Tower Bridge Office says that they are marketing a two bedroom 10th floor apartment off plan in the Vantage, Metro Central Development for £415,000. “This new build in the heart of the area is due for completion 2009. A number of investors have already expressed interest. We have even seen clients selling their investments in the Tower Bridge area following excellent growth and purchasing in Elephant & Castle as they believe it is still an undervalued area which will enjoy good capital growth.”

“The diversity of stock currently in the area is not to be underestimated. There are Georgian, Victorian, 1960’s, and listed buildings in abundance, this is what draws such a varied range of residents to the area. A very coveted development close to the Elephant & Castle is Metro Central Heights a Grade 2 listed residential building, formerly a multi-storey office building designed by Hungarian-born architect Erno Goldfinger and constructed in the early 1960s. Some 55 m tall at its highest point, the original scheme consisted of three freestanding blocks two of seven storeys and one of eighteen, grouped around a central piazza.”

“The building is now very popular with rental investors and buyers who love the proximity to Waterloo and London Bridge. On site there is 24 Hour concierge, a swimming pool and a gymnasium.

Chesterton’s Tower Bridge & City office have a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 710sq ft property available at £329,950.

And commercial property too…

As you move to the East along New Kent Road there are some very interesting commercial and residential buildings. A fine Georgian Terrace of some ten houses runs from the junction of Rodney Place. Wendover Smith, a niche property developer specializing in the redevelopment of older buildings have undertaken a refurbishment of the end of terrace here. Number 154 was converted in the mid 80s and comprises of 5 units that with prices starting from £225,000 to £340,000 for a garden flat with its own private outside space. The development has a communal garden also to the rear.