Retail space has been offered to 36 displaced businesses from the Elephant and Castle shopping centre and market – but campaigners say as many as 40 traders have been left out of the plans.

Developer Delancey plans to demolish the centre to make way for a new pedestrianised town centre, as well as 979 homes, a new college building for the University of the Arts London, leisure and office space and a new station.

But Santiago Peluffo, from Latin Elephant, said there were around 130 small or medium businesses included in demolition plans two years ago, and they had been told there would be enough space for 80 displaced traders. 

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‘We are shocked to find out only 36 independent traders within the red line were offered affordable units for relocation, when Southwark officers and councillors and developer Delancey promised at planning committee there was enough space to accommodate over 80 displaced traders from the Elephant development,” he said. 

“We are also very surprised and sceptical of the claim by Southwark that only 79 small independent businesses were eligible for relocation when the council themselves acknowledged 130 small to medium enterprises within the red line less than two years ago,” he added.

Cllr Kieron Williams, cabinet member for business, skills and innovation, said finding spaces for the remaining businesses was a “priority”.

“I’m delighted the council has been able to provide the new units at Perronet House and it’s good to see Delancey allocating affordable units to shopping centre traders too. The priority now is to find homes for the remaining businesses. I’m determined to make sure they get the support they need, so we can keep and grow Elephant’s fantastic mix of independent traders.”

Southwark will keep working with market traders interested in moving to other local pitches. 

The shopping centre is still open for business with no closure date announced.