The Elephant Returns

Normal service was resumed after a long Chistmas and New Year break with a protest outside Southwark Council on January 7th. Residents want the council to press the developer to make further changes to the plans, particularly so that market traders can continue to trade in the area, and that the needs of the Latino community are met. They also demanded an increase in the number of housing properties that will be at council rents.

Tanya Murat of Southwark Defend Council Housing introduced the event and the speakers.

It wasn’t a very visual event, with only one placard, though it did have two sides, and an elelphant climbing up it. The Green Party had also brought a banner. But many of those present were intending to go into the planning committee meeting to speak or listen, and would not have been allowed to take placards in.

Soutwark have one of the worst records of any local authority for getting rid of council housing, with the demolition of the Heygate Estate and the continuing destruction of the Aylesbury Estate. Clearly they see council estates as desirable and profitable development opportunities rather than as a way of providing decent housing that local people can afford.  Many of the new properties are likely to remain empty, bought by overseas investors in the hope that their value will increase greatly, allowing them to sell on to other investors at a large profit.

We need new laws to stop this happening, Charging double council tax on empty properties would be a start, but more radical  policies are needed.

By the time a union rep for council workers was speaking there were a respectable number of protesters outside the council offices.

The area has a large Latino community and the shopping centre is an important one for them, but Southwark Council have refused to engage with them and their needs.

A leader of the market tradeers says they have been lied to by the council and developer and that promises they were made have not been kept. Southwark Council obviously want to get rid of small traders and replace them by shops from the chains that are found in high streets and shopping centres around the country, losing the vibrancy and the unique nature of the current market and centre.

More pictures at Stand Up for the Elephant.


There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

To order prints or reproduce images


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.