Peckham Vision – “an important force for change’ – August 2010, Architects Journal

celebration of station Old Waiting Room restoration
celebration of station Old Waiting Room restoration

The AJ article “…juxtaposes a top-down development in Elephant and Castle with ground-up localism in Peckham”. It says: Localism can, and does, improve the quality of the built environment by enabling professional skills and community ideas to coalesce. For example, Peckham Vision, a consortium of residents, artists, businesses and The Peckham Society, campaigns for a renewed Peckham town centre. The consortium is an important force for change… Read More

Celebrating the restoration of the Old Waiting Room, Peckham Rye Station

By Roger Williams | In Dulwich on View Photo: Benedict O’Looney

The Old Waiting Room at Peckham Rye Station

The Peckham Society and Southwark Council recently celebrated the beginning of the restoration of the Grand Waiting Room at Peckham Rye Station. Peckham Rye’s handsome Victorian station has been struggling to be seen since buildings were thrown up in the square in front of it in the 1930s. Stand and look at the station now, and you will see two extruding blocks, one on each side of the main entrance. The one on the south side contains a stone and iron spiral staircase, the timbers of its floors rotten, the plaster walls crumbling in chunks, and an arrow pointing upwards, graffitied in black, with the words “To the Billiard Hall”. The billiard hall operated here for 60 years until it closed in 1960, after which all was silence.

On Friday, July 16, after half a century in the dark, the “billiard hall” opened its doors to reveal the station’s Old Waiting Room, a magnificent space with a high vaulted ceiling and four open fire places that stretches the length of the building above the ticket office and is today accessed from Platform 3, on the Victoria line. Read more …

Secret hall beyond Platform 3 holds key to Peckham’s future?

SECRET HALL BEYOND PLATFORM 3 HOLDS KEY TO PECKHAM'S FUTURE?

From Southwark News by Kevin Quinn

A waiting room left hidden on platform three of Rye Lane Station could be the key to unlocking future investment in Peckham.

Like something out of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, this enormous space opened as a waiting room in 1865 and was turned into a billiards hall in 1890 until it closed in 1960.  Forgotten, over the years this space was left to fall into disrepair. It has only recently been opened to the public (albeit briefly), but for those wanting to attract future investment into Peckham town centre the space represents a way forward.

For over a decade the planners and officers at the council’s regeneration department have toyed with a multitude of ideas on how to improve Peckham as commercial hub.

In 2001 radical proposals to transform Peckham into ‘the Notting Hill’ of south London were being considered by Southwark Council’s Peckham Partnership. The head of this regeneration body, Russell Profitt, was looking at recommendations which would mean knocking down huge parts of the high street, pedestrianising large parts of Rye Lane, demolishing the dank and dark buildings around Peckham Rye train station and expanding the Aylesham shopping centre.

Years before in the 1990s, Peckham had undergone a huge regeneration programme, when £64 million (and £150 million in other funding) was given to the area, predominantly to transform housing in the north. As well as removing the notorious estates, some of the legacy from that money was the new Peckham Square and the iconic library within its boundaries.

Last year the council officers were back on the hunt for a way forward, producing a document entitled ‘Future Peckham’ in a bid to garner people’s opinions on what they wanted to see. This hefty 54 page document again suggested a myriad of radical changes in the area, including relocation of the cinema, the creation of three fifteen storey buildings for new homes and once more the redevelopment of the Aylesham centre and Rye Lane to produce a vibrant shopping environment.

But since the initial proposals from Russell Profitt for a ‘Notting Hill’ of the south much has changed on the ground in Peckham. Mr Profitt left the renamed Peckham Programme in 2008 and the subsequent abolition of a town centre management has left a vacuum in the council’s daily coordination on the ground.

In its place is a grassroots group, ‘Peckham Vision’, made up of local stakeholders including residents, community groups and business owners. It is becoming the driving force behind change and importantly they understand that in light of the present economic climate Peckham’s future relies on private investment. Read more…

Major development Bournemouth Road / Rye Lane corner

Latest news 6th March: Planning permission refused. See decision here. See planning report here. Meeting Thursday 18th March 2pm at CLF Art Cafe, Bussey buildng, 133 Rye Lane, SE15 to seek better planning from the developers and owners of the land on the Copeland Cultural Quarter site (see here for more).

January 2010 – Developers sought permission to demolish what remains of the historic Holdron’s on the corner of Rye Lane / Bournemouth Road. It looks potentially as inappropriate and poor quality in design as the Wandle housing block next door to it. Also its design with cramped flats might exacerbate the social problems already experienced from the Wandle block after only two years. It is not integrated at all in the thinking of the developments that can happen now on all that big site behind, now that the tram depot threat is fully lifted.

For those not up to date on this – TfL consultants finally a year ago reported that that site was completely wrong on all counts for the tram depot and another different and appropriate site was found. This news got completely lost in the news of the tram project itself being suspended. This was a shame as it fully vindicated everything Peckham Vision had said including that it would be bad for the tram itself if the tram depot location plan was not thoroughly re-examined ASAP. Once TfL did review it, they conceded everything Peckham Vision had said about why it was a defective decision.

Historic Bournemouth Rd/Rye Lane corner as it was - these buildings are still intact there January 2010

In spite of the blight caused by the TfL plan to locate the tram depot here, organic developments have continued in the Copeland Industrial Park, resulting in the growth of important cultural and small business enterprises. These have demonstrated the significant potential for this part of Peckham Town centre in the life of the town centre as a whole. In response to the Issues and Options report, Peckham Vision asked that the Preferred Option Plan should include an overall framework plan for the part of site 71P which lies between Copeland Road, Bournemouth Road and Rye Lane, including the applicant’s site which is an integral part of it. We submitted an indication of the outline of such a framework. This indicates that considerable progress has already been made in developing such an approach.

Peckham Vision believes that this needs to be completed as soon as possible to provide the right planning context for a redesigned development on the applicant’s site. We know that two major objectors to the current application – The Peckham Society and Peckham Business Park – both of whom are members of the Peckham Vision Consortium, are very ready to cooperate in the development of such an overall plan with the owners of this applicant site, and in liaison with the Council as appropriate both in terms of meeting the objections to the current application and also contributing to the development of an overall framework plan for site 71P in the PNAAP Preferred Options report.

Peckham Vision has therefore asked the Council to encourage the applicant to withdraw the current application and to work with the other property owners and occupiers on the adjacent sites, and to liaise with the Council on its work on the PNAAP. This would enable a redesigned proposal which meets the Council’s UDP criteria for developments in Peckham and enables this site to fit within the overall plans which are emerging for this important part of the town centre and Rye Lane. See Peckham Vision letter here.  Failing that we have asked the Council to defer consideration of, or refuse permission for, the current application to enable this discussion and collaboration to take place.

See other objection letters here, from The Peckham Society, and the Peckham Business Park.

PLANNING APPLICATION INFORMATION

See all the details on the Council’s website.

All documents can be downloaded and saved. The main ones appear to be:

  • Design and access statement – 1 OF 2  2009-11-25: There are 38 pages of pictures and diagrams of what the buildings will look like as well as details of design and access provisions, and of the site now.
  • Planning statement (1)  2009-11-25: This covers their case for how it meets all the Council’s criteria and requirements. First 21 pages are the key ones.

Peckham’s art scene

by LAUREN HOUSSIN formerly on laurenetcaetera.blogspot.com  22 December 2009

From New York’s Meatpacking district to Berlin’s Mitte or Paris’ Montmartre, dirty corners of cities all face the same destiny: they are pioneered by young artists, and later colonized by the trendy bourgeoisie. The rents soar, and the starving bohemia has yet to migrate again.  Take the case of London. After Ladbroke Grove in the 1970s and Camden in the 1980s, the East End was conquered in the late 90s. By the early noughties, Brick Lane, Shoreditch, even Dalston were out of price. Artists soon decided to move south of the river, to Peckham. Known to most people for its gang warfare and knife crime rates rather than its culture, Peckham is home to a burgeoning art scene. Because of its empty industrial spaces and proximity to art schools, the bloody district is now an area of choice for young up and coming artists.

“An advantage of working as an artist in Peckham is that there is an audience for art in the area,” said 26-year-old Bobby Dowler, whose paintings are currently showcased at the Hannah Barry Gallery, one of the great pioneers of the area’s scene and one of the most dynamic new art galleries in Britain. “There’s an extremely good dialogue between people,” the young artist added, “and a seriousness about what they’re doing, a kind of belief that it’s important.”

Located in a former cricket bat factory at the end of an industrial road populated by factories, the Hannah Barry Gallery was invited at this year’s Venice Biennale to stage the first Peckham Pavilion. Ms. Barry founded her eponymous gallery in 2008 with Sven Mündner, and works with 32 artists, all aged between 21 and 35. Whether they are showing paintings, installations or photographies, their aim is to always show the work in-depth, in order to best represent the progress of the artist.

“Peckham is the land of freedom and opportunity,” said Ms. Barry. A hallmark of the area’s art scene is its large-scale and high-reaching projects: the spaces available can accommodate shows and works that could not take place in typical West End or East End galleries.

“Everbody has their own possibilities,” she explained, “and for us the space that we have here allowed us to do the shows that we wanted to do. It would have been a different price in the West End, and perhaps not the kind of price that a young gallery can afford. Being in Peckham has enabled us to do things on a scale that we wouldn’t have been able to do over there.”

Although East London is an established part of the city’s gallery circuit and houses the highest population of artists in Europe, it is no longer what it used to be. Its charm and character seem to be lost since property developers have taken advantage of its popularity. As rents have rocketed, many younger artists have in fact headed south of the river in areas like Peckham, where rents are more affordable.

Situated inbetween two of London’s leading art colleges, Goldsmiths School of Arts and Camberwell College, plenty of young, artistic and imaginative people are challenging the negative stereotype that is still all too-often applied to the area. “A lot of students live in the area and continue living in the area after they graduate. I have done so and I graduated in 1998,” said Emily Druiff, Director of the arts initiative Peckham Space.

Through annual commissions, workshops and public events, Peckham Space supports art practice that forges sustainable links between the arts and the local community in south east London, and aims to provide professional development opportunities for artists. The organisation is also plans to open an art venue in a raw space in Spring 2010, showcasing artworks made in conjunction with and in response to the locals of Peckham.

Peckham is home to 25,000 people from all over the world, and has the highest proportion of people born elsewhere compared to the rest of Southwark. One of the best metaphors of Peckham is the Bussey building, that from the outside looks like a run-down factory in a dodgy back alley. But penetrating the almost historic monument -it was built in the early 20th century- and looking closer, it is occupied by an aggregate of over 60 artists, faith groups, exhibition spaces  and small businesses, all existing and working happily alongside each other.

Turner Prize winner Antony Gormley and his fellow Royal Academician Tom Phillips, who both have their studios in Peckham, decided a few years ago with a clutch of others to do an artistic makeover of the run-down neighbourhood’s landscape. With this street art initiative, residents now enjoy some of the most original street murals, barcode-patterned pavements in the city and twisted or heart-shaped lampposts by the fashion designer Zandra Rhodes.

Just a step out of Peckham Rye station is a wooden sculpture of a phoenix with splatters of paint on it. According to legend, the Phoenix is reduced to ashes at the end of its life, from which a new, young phoenix is reborn to live again. Using the metaphor of destruction and creation, the sculpture aims to communicate a message of rebirth among the community and the role played by the young art scene in this rejuvenation.

Most people will hear the word ”Peckham” and they will just picture graffiti, dirty pavements and urinated phone boxes. But aside from the drama that the South London area evokes, a few pioneers have managed to raise up the profile and status of the place for everyone, bringing new audiences to the area, creating people of different ages and backgrounds mixing in the same place and causing the area to now easily betray people’s expectations.




Emerging Artists Find a New ‘Blank Canvas’ in London

Special Report: Contemporary Art New York Times  By Alice Pfeiffer: October 14, 2009
Peckham, a run-down district of London, south of the Thames, is said to have the capital’s highest concentration of knife crime, hairdressers and gospel churches.
Now, add up-and-coming artists: in easy reach of some of the capital’s leading art schools, the area’s low prices and vast, empty industrial spaces are attracting experimental avant-garde collectives, studios and galleries — a countercultural challenge to the established North-of-the-river world of the Frieze art fair and the gentrified East End.
“Peckham is the land of the free. It’s like a blank canvas,” said Hannah Barry, an enterprising 26-year-old who founded her eponymous gallery last year in a warehouse of a former cricket bat factory.  At the end of an industrial road populated by factories and faith groups, Ms. Barry and her co-director Sven Mündner, 31 — both graduates of Cambridge — put on 15 to 20 shows a year, showcasing young emerging artists. Ms. Barry and Mr. Mündner have also put on an annual sculpture show since 2006, on the roof of an abandoned parking garage nearby. “We felt there was room for an ambitious sculpture park in London,” Ms. Barry said. In June, she and Mr. Mündner took Peckham to a global audience, with a show, the “Peckham Pavilion,” on the fringes of the Venice Biennale.  read more …

Peckham challenging Hoxton for art

From Evening Standard By Tim Burrows 20.08.09

When Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucas opened The Shop in 1993 in what is now Redchurch Street in E2, they probably didn’t realise that they were leading the cultural shift that would hit its peak in 2000 with the arrival of Jay Jopling‘s Hoxton Square gallery and result in a decade of the East End’s dominance over art, music, fashion and all things trendy. But 10 years is long enough and a Peckham collective of artists, writers and musicians called Off Modern think it’s time to challenge that monopoly… … the current focal point of the Peckham scene is not a shop, but a café. Behind a defunct Woolworths, on top of a neglected 10-storey car park and multiplex set back from the main drag of Rye Lane, is Frank’s Café and Campari Bar. Designed by Paloma Gormley (daughter of Antony) and Lettice Drake, the visitor-friendly pop-up café-bar is actually one of the exhibits in Hannah Barry Gallery’s Bold Tendencies III show.  Read more http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/arts/article-23734817-details/Peckham+challenging+Hoxton+for+art/article.do

Peckham raises the roof

Move over Hackney! London’s next creative hotspot, signalled by this bold rooftop sculpture park, could be south of the river, reports Hermione Hoby, Observer
It’s a hot Tuesday night, and 1,000 twentysomethings have elected to spend it in a multi-storey municipal car park in Peckham. It’s a crowd impressive enough to match the big, bold artworks they’re here to see. A sculpture park on the roof of the 10-storey building in Rye Lane forms the highlight of the third Bold Tendencies exhibition from the Hannah Barry Gallery, which has joined forces with four local artists’ groups for a formidable show.
Coming so soon after the success of Barry’s Peckham Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, if anything can substantiate claims of an influential youthful art “scene” in Peckham, this is it. Among the works is James Balmforth’s Failed Obelisk, with its detached apex flailing on a spring, and a ziggurat-like piece from Molly Smyth called Motion Towards Collapse: both names suggest defectiveness but the pieces couldn’t look more assured of their own clout and strength. The rooftop also boasts a cafe and bar designed by recent architecture graduates Lettice Drake and Paloma Gormley – daughter of Antony Gormley, whose cast-iron bollards (part of Southwark council’s Peckham regeneration programme) grace the nearby Bellenden Road. read more…

Transforming Central Rye Lane

In 2008 the Council published an inspiring report on the business case for change at Peckham Rye Station. This would see over several years, the original square in front of the station restored and opened up, and the land between the railway lines on both sides of Rye Lane transformed into spaces for creative enterprises. Over the last few years, ideas have also been evolving for the development of the emerging Copeland Cultural Quarter on the other side of Rye Lane, right alongside the railway line. This site has already been meeting some of the increasing need for flexible spaces for creative and cultural enterprises, and fits exactly with the new plans for the station transformation. See how the two masterplans could come together to transform Central Rye Lane. Read more…

New Vision for Peckham Rye Station

Source: Southwark News

Report from Southwark News 21 November 2008: http://www.southwarknews.co.uk/00,news,13050,440,00.htm

“NEW DESIGNS for Peckham Rye train station have been unveiled as the council presses ahead with plans to regenerate the area, despite the body blow that no tram will come there. A summit of key figures will sit down tomorrow and thrash out how the ambitious policy will be funded, with a discussion on how pressure can be applied to Network Rail to open up its purse strings.

If the plans were approved, areas at the front and back of Peckham Rye station will be transformed into a piazza leading onto Rye Lane, and a market area at the rear using the existing arches as access points. The meeting, led by Peckham Community Council, aims to change the instant impression people get when they walk out of the station. It will also attempt to make the station the focal point of the area.

Source: Southwark News
Source: Southwark News

The idea has been mooted for sometime but a council spokesman said this meeting and the plans were hoped to be a catalyst for the future. ” Read more …