Socialist Worker

Southwark protest sees developers’ plans thwarted

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2590

Protesting outside the council offices

Protesting outside the council offices (Pic: Socialist Worker)


Southwark council’s planning committee has postponed a crucial decision about the future of the Elephant and Castle shopping centre in south London.

The decision came on Tuesday night as over 100 people protested outside the meeting.

The official reason for postponing the decision was a last minute statement from developers Delancey. The firm said it could reconsider the amount of socially rented homes on the development.

This follows the vote by four to three by the Planning Committee on 16 January not to approve Delancey’s application. There was an angry demonstration that evening as well.

The initial planning application said that just 33 homes out of almost 1,000 would be for “affordable” rent of up to 80 percent of market rates. This figure might now rise to 116 “affordable” homes.

Searching

Delancey bosses are desperately searching for ways to make their application acceptable to the councillors.

This week’s demonstration and meeting took place on the same day as infamous redeveloping Haringey council leader Claire Kober said she would stand down as leader after May’s local elections.

That’s the result of a powerful grassroots campaign against a private developer in cahoots with the council.

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The Labour Party right are under pressure across London—and it is no coincidence that this is happening in areas where there are strong established campaigns.

People from Southwark Unison union, the United Voices of the World union, the London College of Communication and Defend Council Housing spoke outside the meeting.

“We’re protesting tonight to put pressure on their decision,” Rotherhithe resident Marlene told Socialist Worker. “We want to stop the demolition and will continue to protest.”

“We continue to demand a refusal of the planning application,” said Tanya Murat from Southwark Defend Council Housing. “The community needs to be fully consulted on the application process.”

Councillors on the planning committee voted seven to one to postpone the meeting. A motion to refuse the planning application outright was proposed but couldn’t find a seconder.

There is a danger that Delancey’s concessions might enable its application to slide through. The pressure must be kept up.

 


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