Southwark Council’s executive has approved a heads of terms agreement with Lend Lease Europe to carry out a multi million pound regeneration scheme in Elephant and Castle in South London.

The council said the agreement would allow for a six phase development of the scheme with a full regeneration agreement to be signed later this year.

The first stage will be the demolition stage which will start in February 2010, or as soon as practically possible. Detailed planning consent for Phase 1 will be sought to be achieved by the end of April 2011.

Both parties have expressed their commitment to work together to redevelop the shopping centre (Phase 6), once economic circumstances allow and a viable scheme can be brought forward.

The council's executive has also asked council officers to continue negotiations with Transport for London and the Greater London Authority to "safeguard the viability of all phases of the project, including the shopping centre".

Cllr Nick Stanton, leader of Southwark Council, said the agreement had been reached against the "back drop of national recession" he said: "This decision paves the way for another important step on our journey to transform the Elephant and Castle, to create a new, successful and vibrant urban quarter for Southwark and London. It also represents a very good deal for local tax payers and excellent value for money, which is particularly impressive as we have been negotiating this agreement against the back drop of a national recession."

Dan Labbad, chief executive officer – Europe at Lend Lease, said: “Lend Lease is extremely pleased with Southwark Council’s decision. We understand the importance of the successful regeneration of Elephant and Castle to the local community, Southwark and London and are committed to continuing to work in partnership with the Council to finalise agreements and begin work on site.”