TRADERS displaced by the closure of the iconic Elephant and Castle shopping centre have been left without premises a year on, despite promises of relocation.
Dozens of businesses were left with an uncertain future after the south London shopping centre was closed in September 2020 and later demolished to make way for a £4 billion redevelopment scheme.
While some traders have been offered new premises, they say they are unable to meet the “astronomical” relocation costs and argue that developers Delancey and Lendlease should pay for it.
A deputation of displaced traders will go to Southwark Council Assembly on Wednesday to call for stronger support to help them in the negotiations with the developers.
Diana Sach, who set up Colombian restaurant La Bodequita with her brothers in 2001, said they have already spent thousands of pounds designing new premises and storing equipment.
“It is over a year since we left the shopping centre and we really need to reopen soon, but we just seem to be stuck,” she said.
Jerry Flynn from the Up the Elephant campaign said: “Southwark Council said that no-one would be left behind in the Elephant regeneration — now is the time for them to prove it.”
Councillor Helen Dennis, Southwark cabinet member for climate emergency and sustainable development, said: “We have always been clear that the redevelopment of the shopping centre should not be at the expense of Elephant and Castle’s vibrant and diverse culture, with both traders and wider communities benefiting from plans for the area.
“This should include the successful relocation of Pricebusters and La Bodeguita, who require more much support than is currently on the table.
“We simply cannot allow these traders to be left behind. The council remains steadfast in actively working with them and the developers to find a solution.”