Update on 27 March 2015
We have today published a report setting out the issues that were raised in our consultation on the Elephant & Castle public realm, which ran from 17 November 2014 to 22 December 2014. Thank you to all those who took part.
Click here to download the Elephant and Castle Consultation Report
In summary the outcomes of the consultation were:
We received 460 responses in total
85 per cent strongly agree or tend to agree with the plans to improve the pedestrian environment
80 per cent of respondents strongly agree or tend to agree with the plans to create a useable public space
Respondents also made a number of written comments, and several broad themes emerged, including:
Character area design
The details of the original consultation can be found below.
In spring 2015 Transport for London (TfL) will begin to implement changes to the highway at the northern roundabout at Elephant & Castle. The changes include removing the roundabout by closing the southern side and converting the traffic to two-way operation. The subways will be replaced with pedestrian crossings and a number of new cycle lanes introduced around the junction to improve cycle safety.
These changes present a significant opportunity to create a new public space at the heart of the Elephant. Transforming the public realm at this key transport interchange will form part of the wider work we are carrying out across London through our Roads Modernisation Plan. The Roads Modernisation Plan will deliver many of the recommendations of the Mayor’s Road Task Force – set up to tackle the challenges facing London’s streets.
What are we trying to achieve?
We want to create a space that will transform Elephant ready for the future:
We want to create a usable and flexible space which would become a focal point within the wider Elephant & Castle regeneration area.
We want to provide a high quality streetscape and landscaping to improve the pedestrian environment and support the transport interchange between Tube, rail and bus services.
We want to reduce the impact of motorised traffic on the area and improve conditions for cyclists and pedestrians.
What we consulted on?
We have begun to develop ideas on what this new public space might be like and have run a number of design workshops with local resident and interest groups, the Borough and key land owners to help shape our ideas.
We would now like your views on our proposals in order to ensure we create a space that works for the whole community.
Creating a new public space at the heart of the Elephant is just one of the many projects in the rejuventation of the Elephant & Castle
One of London’s biggest regeneration projects is underway at the Elephant. A major new town centre is being created with 5000 new jobs, 4000 new homes, a new shopping centre, a new Tube station for the Northern Line, a new leisure centre, and several new public spaces. Each of these have different characters which will emerge from sites around the Elephant and Castle over the next 10 years.
Southwark Council has also announced a £6m programme to improve existing parks that it manages, including Nursery Row, Victory Park, Dicken’s Square and St Mary’s Churchyard.
Investment in cycling and pedestrian connections, including a Cycle Superhighway and many locally driven initiatives, will improve the area still further.
Please click here to download a plan of regeneration projects planned for Elephant and Castle.
The interchange, and the public spaces that support it, have to work together to support today’s local residents and the new community that will become established over the next decade.
Residents, students, visitors, commuters, businesses and institutions all interact in different ways with public space. The responsibility of this project is to enhance their individual and collective experiences, make the area accessible and inviting to all, while retaining the uniqueness and character of the Elephant.
But some things will stay the same
This isn’t the first time the Elephant has been redeveloped. Once there were coaching inns and farriers forges, then a hub of business, shopping and social life; a ‘Piccadilly of the South.’ More recent regeneration initiatives have also brought change. The Elephant has been built and rebuilt many times.
Among the history that remains is the Bakerloo line ticket hall, the Faraday Memorial, the Elephant and Castle Statue, Goldfinger’s modernist architecture and the landscape created during more recent road improvement schemes.
This project values these local landmarks and the plans for the new Elephant and Castle should evolve and enhance what already exists.
Please click here to download a plan of features that will stay the same
Our vision - Elephant Square - where old and new work together
We want to create a new square for the twenty-first century. The change in the road system is an ideal opportunity to design a new public realm.
The idea behind the plan to transform the northern roundabout at the Elephant and Castle is simple: to turn the highway-dominated environment which people only want to pass through into a place where people want to stay and spend time. We have named this new space Elephant Square.
We want to create a shared vision that unites the aspirations of TfL, the GLA, the London Borough of Southwark, private developers, other stakeholders and, critically, those people who use it now and who will use it in the future.
Our vision is that Elephant Square is both an easy and pleasant place to move through and a space for people to meet, enjoy and spend time in. We want to deliver:
A square made of five main areas of public space and the junction of five roads.
A welcoming place that works for local people and visitors alike – an attractive place to visit, move through and spend time.
A place that supports the transport interchange between Tube, rail and bus services and provides safe and easy access through the area by foot and bike.
A place that reflects the history, values and functionality of the area and creates new reasons to be in the area.
Concept model of Elephant Square
Click here for a larger version of the above model concept
Creating a special place linked to the existing public spaces of Southwark
Elephant Square should be both an effective interchange and an important public place. The area is already a thoroughfare for those people going to and from home and work, school or study, and the shops. The vision for Elephant Square is to create a new open space which adds to the existing grain of public spaces within the borough.
Please click here to download a diagram of the network of public spaces in the area
Creating a place to meet and a space to pass through
A higher quality interchange
The highway design, which went to consultation earlier this year, will remove the subways and create road crossings above ground. These will provide shorter, more direct routes and make it easier for people to see their route across the area, although average journey times may be longer.
This change helps us to deliver a higher quality pedestrian experience and to create a place which is more pleasant to move through.
The scheme also proposes to extend Legible London signage throughout the Elephant.
Please click here to download a diagram of the new pedestrian crossing points
Places to meet
Currently, opportunities and reasons to stop or slow down as you pass through the Elephant are limited. People move through quickly, make their connections below ground, or hurry through well-worn local shortcuts to bus stops and beyond.
Movement patterns will change in the future. The subways will be replaced with pedestrian crossing points and more people will move through the space between the stations and the new facilities provided in the regeneration programme.
Along these pedestrian routes there should be places to stop. Places to meet, with seating and shelter from the road. Where you can find useful retail and amenities including a coffee shop or pop up market. Where you could easily meet friends and socialise.
A good example of this is The Grind on Old Street roundabout, where people enjoy the atmosphere of the cafe and its outside seating despite high traffic levels.
Please click here to download a plan of new seating and retail opportunities in Elephant Square
Creating a place that supports public life in the busy city
A new york stone surface
We want to create a square that has consistent and unifying materials which are tough enough to withstand the high levels of use. York stone would be used to replace the fourteen different materials which currently make up the existing spaces, changing the environment and atmosphere of the area and making it feel as if it is one consistent place.
A sustainable ambition
The project is looking into ways that it can help to reduce London’s impact on the environment. We are looking at ways to incorporate Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS), increased and improved facilities for cycle users and large scale tree and shrub planting. The landscape will be intense and bring together all the amenities in the square to make it a place you wish to go to.
Creating a safer and calmer environment for all users
Where possible the movement of cyclists and pedestrians has been kept separate. This includes the provision of segregated cycle tracks with integrated signals. There are some areas where pedestrians and cycles will share spaces. In these locations, different materials, clear signage and landscape design will be used to help mitigate conflicts and enable the safe mixing of pedestrians and cycle users.
Please click here to download a plan of new surfacing and cycling facilities in Elephant Square
A unique landscape
We’d like to create a landscape that recognises local people, plants objects and stories whilst helping to improve the environment.
The existing planting at the Elephant is of a really high quality and already it helps to make softer spaces around the edges of the road. The planting proposed will intensify what’s here already.
Elephant Square could have up to one hundred new trees and shrubs, and over 1000 square metres of new soft planting including new green roofs on pavillion structures. We’re interested in finding species which are particular and peculiar to the Elephant, in combinations that you wouldn’t find anywhere else but the Elephant.
Alongside trees with interesting leaf form and colour, we’d like to plant trees and plants that provide a crop. Lavender is already being locally harvested nearby, and in a small park up New Kent Road, people have told us how they love to eat the plums that grow close to the road.
We’d like to find space to re-introduce water. Reusing one of the old subway entrances. Running water working with the intense new planting would help to soften the acoustics and make the space have a human scale.
Please click here to download a plan of new trees and landscaping in Elephant Square
Creating a landscape that recognises local people, plants and stories
Planting full of stories and memories
The market gardens of Walworth grew apples and fruits local to the Elephant, as one of the local gardeners said ‘If you could find those apples and plant them again... that would be great’. We’re interested in introducing species like this that are connected to local history and part of its memory.
We’d like the new plants to represent something of the cultural mix at the Elephant too. Species like false acacia which was introduced into Britain from Southern America. Like how the Latin community have made Elephant their home, so a species like this might put down roots. The new plants can be exotic, different, productive - species with divergent social histories, and connected physically to the local community.
The focal points and landmarks
Remounting of the Elephant & Castle statue in its historic position at the centre of Faraday Garden would restore it to its location at the heart of the space. The base of the column might mark the historic routes radiating out from the Elephant to the bridges that cross the Thames.
A blank, south west facing gable of the Bakerloo line ticket hall could be planted with a green wall, a similar scheme was done at Edgeware Road.
New green wall planted at Edgware Road station (photo biotecture.co.uk)
A new structure within the central space could be planted with trees, multi-stem birches and colourful ornamental acers above your head as you sit opposite the Faraday.
Fragrant, colourful and surprising
Sensory, fragrant planting would help change the atmosphere. The Guerrilla Gardeners planted lavender on a nearby traffic island, and have harvested the crop. The plant is very hardy, and can survive against the busy road, whilst its scent as you sit next to it would be a real surprise.
We would like to plant hops along the base of the new structure, and new Oak trees, referencing the beer and barrels of the historic pub.
G. Baldwin & Co was established 1844 on the Walworth Road. They are a supplier of medicinal herbs and natural products and a cultural landmark of the area, we’re working to find how plants like this could be incorporated into the scheme.
Below is the overarching (proposed) plan for Elephant Square
Click here for a larger version of this plan (including a key for individual spaces)
Elephant Square - what it could look like
The Faraday Garden
Connected back to the rest of the public space by the peninsularisation of the roundabout, Faraday garden is the centre piece of the new square. Crossed by key pedestrian desire lines running between the Bakerloo line station, Northern line station, bus and national rail connections and the site of the shopping centre redevelopment, this will be a busy public place.
The Faraday memorial and existing mature London Plane trees already give some shelter from the road. We’d like to add a new planted roof structure, its geometry similar to the old line of Walworth Road, and lots of new planting to increase this feeling of shelter – and help make a place less dominated by traffic. With a new café, places for stalls and comfortable new benches, this could be a great place to meet.
The planting will be a mixture of new flowering trees, climbers and hardy scented and fragrant species, growing from the roof of the new structure and in a swathe of new raised landscape between New Kent Road and the central area.
At the centre of the space we would like to place the Elephant statue mounted on a new column in its former position four storeys above the space. The base of the column signposting the historic routes up to the Thames bridges.
Artist's impression of how the space could look - looking north to the Bakerloo line entrance
Click here for a larger version of the above image
The Elephant Orchard
After the removal of the roundabout the space in front of Metro Central Heights almost triples in area. The capping of the subway increases the potential of this space further. We propose a new York stone surface throughout, continuing to a generous pedestrian link down Newington Causeway down to the shopping centre and forming new crossings that link the space across to the Bakerloo line.
Within this new space we propose to retain all the existing trees and to plant a new orchard, over 20 new semi-mature fruit trees. We’d like to plant apples, quinces and plums. Species which have been grown in the market gardens of Walworth. In two new raised planters, positioned to help give new seating shelter from the road we would like to plant banks of hardy herbal ground cover plants such as Rosemary, Thyme and Lavender.
Amongst this scented Orchard, space has been found for a dozen pitches for new market stalls. Space for local food, local produce; either as a regular small market or as temporary set of stalls like those currently outside the Bakerloo line station entrance.
Artist's impression of how the space could look - looking towards London College of Communications
Click here for a larger version of the above image
What will happen next?
The phases of construction
This is a phased project, TfL will deliver the new highway layout, starting in spring 2015 and completing in spring 2016. The first phase of new public spaces - in front of Metro Central Heights, the Bakerloo line, the LCC and the Elephant Link Road - will also be implemented.
The central space, including the Faraday Memorial, new pavilion and the Faraday Garden will be delivered in a second phase once the Northern line station upgrade works have been completed. It is anticipated that construction on this area will happen in the early 2020s.
Phases of construction (PDF)
Give us your views
You can let us know your views on our plans by taking part in our on-line survey.
Following this consultation, the views and responses from the public will be compiled and used to help inform the final stage of the public realm design. Your views are therefore very valuable.
Views must be submitted by 22 December 2014.
We will be holding a series of public exhibitions where you will have an opportunity to view the plans and speak to members of the project team too.
Draper Tenants Hall, corner of Newington Butts and Howell Walk, SE1 6TL
•Tuesday 25 November 16:00 – 20:00
•Thursday 27 November 14:30 – 18:30
Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre, SE1 6TE (near the main entrance on the upper ground floor)
• Saturday 29 November 11:00 – 15:00
Keyworth Centre at London Southbank University, Keyworth Street, SE1 6NG
• Tuesday 2 December 15:00 – 19:00
• Thursday 4 December 15:00 – 19:00
Please click here to download the exhibition boards that will be available to view at the public exhibitions.
The plans are also available to view at John Harvard Library, 211 Borough High Street, London SE1 1JA until 22 December 2014.
Click here for information on the consultation we held earlier this year about the changes to the road layout