Will the run-down Elephant & Castle ever be regenerated, or is it destined to remain an, er, elephants' graveyard of aborted dreams and failed schemes?
No one can doubt the need to do something about the dismal roundabout-cum-shopping-dump where the cautious dare not tread after dark. However, the central location should have created the potential for revival. But the combination of an incompetent local council, which has not improved in spite of changing political control, and a long series of developers who have insisted on making money in the troubled location has resulted in no progress being made for the past few decades.
Now we are told that the latest proposal, a £1.5 billion scheme by Olympic Village developer Lend Lease, has been delayed yet again - this time by the local council elections. A development agreement was meant to be signed on 22 June. But the change in control at Southwark Council from LibDem to Labour has meant a delay until 7 July - at least.
The new Labour administration says it needs more time to scrutinise the details of the draft agreement. "I made no secret that I had some concerns with the heads of terms was signed in November", said incoming Labour leader Peter John. "But I have already had very positive discussions with Lend Lease and I am looking forward to moving towards an agreement that meets the aspirations of the borough and the community, including good outcomes relating to the shopping centre, affordable housing and leisure facilities."
Can all these goodies be delivered by a private developers and still produce a profit for the Aussie company in the current economic climate? Only time will tell. In the meanwhile, the elephant stays in the room - and not in a good way.