Peckham Vision Event 21 January 2006

�Extract from Bellenden Residents’ Group Newsletter – February 2006

Peckham Vision Event� 21 January 2006

On the afternoon of Saturday 21 January 2006, about 200 local people crowded into a small art gallery in the Bussey Building, an historic solidly built Victorian factory, just off Rye Lane, in the Copeland Industrial Park (CIP), which is part of the semi-hidden enclave from the railway lines to Rye Lane, Bournemouth Road and Consort Road railway bridge. They were given a tour of the roof with its panoramic views over London, visual presentations of the historic architectural treasures throughout the town centre, and some details of the proposed tram maintenance depot. Artists working on the site shared their art gallery with the event, and with the exhibition of material about the town centre (this is open to 19th February, Wed-Sun 12pm-5pm). This was a Peckham Society meeting organised by Peckham Vision, a consortium of local residents, artists and businesses who have come together to seek information about the development plans for Peckham Town Centre, raise public awareness of these issues and stimulate an informed discussion between local people and the Council about the future of Peckham town centre.

Historic Treasures and Station Renovations

People were amazed to discover the extent of the wonderful historic architecture still there in the town centre, including wooden timbered buildings on the High St from the 17th century, but dismayed to hear how vulnerable it all is. The Peckham Society is working with the Conservation Unit in the Council to develop a Conservation Area to give the buildings some protection from demolition without warning. For more information contact benedict@waitrose.com & www.peckhamsociety.org.uk In parallel, the Rye Lane & Station Action Group (RLSAG), a joint residents� & Council group, has been focusing on improvements to the station and central Rye Lane shopping area. In the next few months new lighting around the station should make an impact. Inside the station there is an exciting project to transform passengers� experience. This is the first stage of reintegration into the station of the original enormous waiting room between platforms 2 & 3. The project will unbrick the large old windows, and project light from inside to the platforms. This is just a prelude to encouraging investment to bring that magnificent space back into social and communal use, and longer term to re-open the piazza in front of the station. If you want to know more about the RLSAG and its work please contact Eileen� emailinfo@peckhamvision.org

Proposed Tram Maintenance Depot

On the other side of Rye Lane there is a lively, busy multi-functional and adaptable industrial square tucked away in the semi-hidden enclave behind Rye Lane and Bournemouth Road. There is a passage way into this space, rather like Harry Potter�s platform 9&3/4 at Kings Cross! This is a doorway at No 133 Rye Lane (opposite Blenheim Grove). Walking along the passage takes you into an unexpected world of industrial, trading, social and artistic endeavours, where hundreds of people are occupied. This site has been designated by the Council in the draft Unitary Development Plan (UDP) as the site for the maintenance depot for the proposed Cross River Tram between Peckham and Camden. Last year, it was revealed, through the Freedom of Information Act during the UDP Public Inquiry, that the references to a tram depot with other business, residential and leisure uses were in fact plans for a huge maintenance depot for over 40 trams in the heart of the town centre, apparently with no room left for other uses except some shallow retail units on the Rye Lane frontage.

Displays of the tram depot plans are included in the exhibition. The trams would travel from the High St to the depot behind Bournemouth Road and Rye Lane, with probably one tram every two minutes under the Consort Road bridge, competing for road space with north�south road traffic through Peckham. The information acquired as a result of the public inquiry did not indicate that there had been a thorough examination of the impact of imposing a large engineering site in the heart of the town centre and of the costs for businesses, jobs, homes, traffic, planning blight, shopping and historic buildings. One of the purposes of the event was to make the available information more accessible to the general public. There was overwhelming concern at the lack of information from TfL (Transport for London) and the Council. There were repeated requests for release of further information before the formal consultation period. This is essential for local people to have their own conversations to work out what they think. Only then can there be useful informed discussions between local people and the Council about the future of Peckham. There will be further Peckham Vision events to assist in this public conversation. The next will be on Saturday 18th March to focus on the tram and the tram maintenance depot. See details under Events, page 7. If you would like to know more, email info@peckhamvision.org

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