In a time of significant growth for London, the regeneration of the Elephant and Castle couldn’t have been more welcome. As a thriving capital city, London is constantly evolving, however, now more than ever, it is undergoing a notable change in response to an economy that continues to grow and an ever-expanding population.
Named after a historic coaching inn and pub, Elephant and Castle has long been an economic hub of South London however large parts of the area no longer fulfil the purpose for which they were built. City planning has changed dramatically since its last development in the 1960’s meaning that the area will be less dominated by motor vehicles, designing a neighbourhood with more homes, employment space and amenities suited for modern living.
Over £3bn is being invested in the regeneration of Elephant and Castle, improving the transport links, shopping and leisure facilities, new schools and community centres and thousands of new jobs and training opportunities.
By 2025 over 5000 new or replacement homes will have been built in the area. Over 30% will be affordable homes. Creating new routes through the area, making it easier and more enjoyable to walk around, promoting business development, over 10,000 new jobs are expected to be created with the regeneration.
Over £150 million is being invested in the transport network with new walkways, cycle routes, roads and public areas around them. Elephant and Castle is at the forefront of London’s transport overhaul. With more focus on creating attractive, walkable streets and neighbourhoods. Pavements have been widened and the new cycle super-highway links Elephant and Castle to King’s Cross.
The regeneration is also working on improving and creating new public spaces for people to use and enjoy at their leisure. The most significant will be the Elephant Park scheme which incorporates the largest new park in Central London in more than 70 years. With over 400 trees, the 1.5-hectare park will cover the former Heygate Estate. More trees will be planted throughout the redevelopment, over 1200 in total, cementing Elephant and Castle as a new eco-friendlier neighbourhood. Castle Square, which will host a market and other public events is part of the Delancey development on Elephant Road. A third square is also planned for Wansey Street.
Some of the community improvements are already benefiting the local population. The £20 million Castle Leisure Centre providing state-of-the-art swimming, sports and studio space in the heart of Elephant and Castle. The area is set to benefit from a wide range of new facilities such as the restored Walworth Town Hall, Artworks Elephant and new cinemas and theatrical spaces proposed on Skipton Street. Community projects are also benefiting from investment. A number of different charitable organisations being awarded over £100,000 in grants. Additionally, projects to improve public health are set to receive over £1 million in investment.
Education in the area is seeing an improvement. Part of the Elephant and Castle town centre redevelopment, the London College of Communication is to receive a new campus and just up the road London South Bank University is redeveloping the St George’s quarter of its Elephant and Castle campus. New primary and secondary schools are also planned for the area and training and apprenticeship schemes are helping long-term unemployed gain new skills and experience to take advantage of the new opportunities the redevelopment to offering.
The Elephant is known for its diversity – diverse cultures, businesses, and architecture. The diversity of this area is something to cherished and developed. Ensuring that the unique personality and distinctiveness is maintained is the most important part of the redevelopment.