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7.3.2006

"Elephant House" to be demolished?


Elephant under threat?


Vibrant cultural space: The Coffeeshop



Elephant House, Lewisham Way

Coffeeshop 2003 New Cross
The Coffeeshop, 2003, New Cross Road

The Elephant House and the Coffeeshop in New Cross are facing demolition.

The landlord has now applied for a planning permission to knock down the premises in Lewisham Way and erect a five storey complex of 6, 1 bedroom flats and 8, 2 bedroom selfcontained flats.

application overview (1 page)
    full application with pictures (33 pages)

Objections have been put forward against the plans by at least 6 neighbours and the Green Party.

The Elephant House (named after the elephant decorating the building front and made by Goldsmiths College students) is built in the mid 1800s and has unique features.

Opponents of the plans believe, that the Elephant House is a vital part of the cultural heritage of the local area and deserves the protection by the planning commission. The premises had been occupied in autumn 2005 "out of imminent need for affordable housing".

With the Coffeeshop, a social space for the local community was established soon after and has developed into a vibrant cultural platform of communication, music, arts and films and food, financed merely through volunteer work and donations of the local community.

Metamorphosis Trust is a charity which has its base in the premises. Metamorphosis aims

"to transform daily life in the urban medium through creative and conflict-free activities such as music, art, language learning, body-awareness disciplines, nutrition, textiles, sustainable living, DIY and ecologically related activities."

(quoted from the Metamorphosis website).
As a collective of artists, musicians, graduates/qualified and other skillful persons Metamorphosis functions with principles similar to co-operatives.

"The demolition of the Elephant House and the Coffeshop would be a big cultural loss for the local area. To replace this beautiful building with a modern five storey building would change the face of the neighbourhood and be a sin against the local heritage. The building deserves the protection of the planning commission.",
said one of the occupiers this week.
Apparently the Council has not yet set a date to decide the application.

Residents are still collecting signatures against the plan. Comments and objections can be also made by email under reference of application number DC/05/61227/FT to planning@lewisham.gov.uk

www.southeastlondon.org/elephant
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