The Liberal Democrats could merge the ailing Elephant & Castle and Aylesbury Estate regeneration schemes if it wins control of Southwark council in next Thursday’s local elections.
The £1.5bn Elephant & Castle project has been hit by the recent collapse of negotiations with the scheme’s preferred bidder, developer Southwark Land Regeneration. Plans to rejuvenate the neighbouring Aylesbury Estate stalled late last year after tenants voted against transferring the housing stock to a registered social landlord.

The Liberal Democrats plan to revive the projects by linking them together. These plans rest on the assumption that the party takes overall control of the council, as it is tipped to do by council insiders. Southwark is currently a hung council, with 31 Labour councillors to 27 Liberal Democrat councillors.

Under the plans, the Liberal Democrats would commission a 20-year vision for Walworth ward incorporating the two areas, although the projects would largely be funded separately.

We will look at running the schemes in tandem – social and school aspects will be more joined up

Nick Standton, Liberal Democrat councillor

Councillor Nick Stanton, who served on the ratification committee for both projects, said: “This is a priority now that the post mortem on the Aylesbury Estate has finished. We will look at running the schemes in tandem – certainly social and school provision will be more joined up. A new secondary school could serve people from both areas.”

Stanton said the original Elephant & Castle masterplan had failed to address education provision. He added that the 20-year vision would have to examine ways of linking up the provision of healthcare and crime prevention on each of the schemes.