Earmarked as London’s hottest regeneration project, Elephant & Castle is undergoing a 3 billion restoration that will see the neighborhood transformed into a landmark destination for 21st century living.
Set in the borough of Southwark, just shy of a mile from London’s cultural river-side hotspot The South Bank, and within 15 minutes of Westminster, The West-End and The City, Elephant & Castle enjoys one of the most privileged central locations in London. Yet despite it’s Zone 1 status, property prices here have remained among the lowest in the capital, averaging £791 per square foot, compared to a £930 average across Greater London.
While neighboring districts of Kennington, with its lovely terraced houses, and Borough, with its buzzing food scene, have seen a significant transformation over the past decade, Elephant and Castle has lagged behind. Poor urban planning, including a series of giant roundabouts, a drab shopping center and two of London’s roughest council estates have been paramount to hindering its progress.
Now, work has begun on the development of a new town center that will embrace the vibrancy, creativity and diversity that they area is known for. Key pillars of the project include the conversion of former council estate Heygate estate into a dynamic, eco-conscious development, Elephant Park. The majority of the area’s new developments offer affordable housing options and are part of the government’s ‘Help to Buy Scheme’, enabling first-time buyers to borrow up to 40% of the value of the property through the “Help to Buy’ scheme. Designed with young professionals and families in mind, it’s a forward thinking project attracting the sort of buyers who once favored East London.
A cornerstone of the regeneration is the demolition of the former shopping center to make way for a vibrant new town center, combining a new campus for the London College of Arts with 2,500 new houses and apartments, a central shopping street, a 1,000 person cinema and a grass-roots music venue. While the full project is slated for completion in 2021, a state-of-the art leisure center, The Castle, has already opened in May 2016. Meanwhile, pop-up retail park Art-Works shows a sign of things to come: the innovative space provides a focal point for the neighborhood’s urban creatives, combining start-up spaces, food-stalls and yoga studios with regular live music, beat-box and spoken word events.