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Campaigner wins permission to appeal against Elephant and Castle shopping centre planning approval

The Court of Appeal has granted a campaigner permission to appeal against the planning approval for the demolition and redevelopment of the Elephant and Castle shopping centre.

Southwark Council granted approval to shopping centre owner and developer Delancey in 2019.

In December 2019 Mr Justice Dove rejected Jerry Flynn’s claim in Flynn v London Borough of Southwark [2019] EWHC 3575. All the claimant’s grounds of challenge essentially all related to criticisms of the affordable housing provision which was ultimately approved.

The Public Interest Law Centre, which is acting for the appellant, claimed that while Delancey had increased the amount of real social rented homes from zero to 116 units over the course of three-year campaign by Up the Elephant, which is backing Mr Flynn's challenge, it would be a fraction of the nearly one thousand in the new development.

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“The social housing could also be at risk, if Delancey doesn’t deliver on the 'West site', not due to be built for another 10 years,” it added.

The appellant will also argue that Southwark's planning committee was misled as to the maximum amount of affordable housing the scheme could viably provide and that with Mayor’s funding there could be at least another 42 social rented homes.

Jerry Flynn of Up the Elephant said: “We look forward to the case going to the Court of Appeal. Southwark is not getting as much social rented housing from Delancey as it should be, while the need for it has become even more acute. Delancey are not building the homes and new shops that local people need. Their planning permission should be quashed and homes and shops that local people can afford built instead.”

Paul Heron, solicitor from the Public Interest Law Centre, said: “We are happy that the matter will now be considered by the Court of Appeal. The case raises a number of important legal issues regarding how local councils should handle these developments.

“One concern is that Southwark council, and many councils like them, are failing to maximise social housing in these developments.

“Another concern is that councillors are failing in their duties – far too much power is being given to unelected council officials in the decision-making process. This has to stop otherwise there will be a democratic deficit in planning law.”

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