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Better Elephant exhibition under threat

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Better Elephant exhibition under threat

Council officers have threatened to take away the community-organised Better Elephant exhibition from the Heygate.

A few days ago, a group of council officers announced that they would be taking away the Better Elephant exhibition, currently within the Heygate, together with 'everything else'. It is not clear what 'everything else' is or indeed, just what legal grounds for any such action there may be.

The reasons for such an announcement, let alone an action, are another mystery. The exhibition itself, as many of you who saw it will know, provides historic and current information about the Heygate and Elephant and Castle regeneration. It is a precious community resource put together by local residents and volunteers for no other reason but to share the knowledge and provide another opportunity for a wider community involvement. Could publicly accessible information really be so threatening as to try to destroy it?

For quite a while now, the Heygate has been buzzing with human, plant and wild life. Many local residents continue to argue that keeping the Heygate accessible for as long as possible during the proposed 15 years-long regeneration is essential. The Council and the developer both recognise the importance of 'interim uses' and the countless current and future activities on the Heygate have been discussed since day one of the consultations. Public access is the best and least expensive crime-deterrent. It helps establish and develop communities. It promotes healthy living, as any of the gardeners will tell you. It helps people take responsibility for and appreciate and care for the spaces around them. The Council's own policies promote the same principles, which makes this latest development really disconcerting.

If you can, please write to the local councillors and Fiona Colley, to find out more and to urge them to stop this, as this unique, amazing resource is precious to so many.

Councillors

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Updated 16th March 2012:

Southwark News, in their 15th March issue, report that the fish pond will be left intact 'for the time being'. Cllr Fiona Colley is quoted as saying 'We will continue to monitor the general health & safety on the site prior to demolition works taking place to ensure that the site also remains safe for the remaining residents.'

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