Redesigning the town centre 23rd October 2010

walkabout at southern gateway

A group of local residents, council people and others in the Peckham Town Centre Forum had a highly successful 2 hour walkabout of the town centre looking at urban design of the street scene, and also the large development sites and their potential. Discussion focused on:

* changes to the street scene design to improve the pedestrian experience – including widening pavements & removing street clutter;

* enhancing some historic buildings in prominent locations by cleaning and painting above ground floor level for some quick wins; funding to be secured through heritage sources once Conservation Area status granted;

* impact and potential for the major developments both sides of the High Street, and in central Rye Lane opposite the station.

This was followed by another enthusiastic energetic Forum in the afternoon. Open Space discussions focussed on:

  • Feedback from the walk – street scene, major developments and the PNAAP
  • Restoration of historic buildings and next steps following on from the walk feedback
  • Central Rye Lane – especially the multi storey car park and Copeland Industrial site
  • Food growing and mapping of sustainable initiatives
  • Peckham Festival in autumn 2011.

As a result, following the walkabout and discussions, the Council has organised two preview events of the Preferred Options of the PNAAP to give the public a chance to give some early feedback. These are excellent chances to make a contribution and become better informed about the revitalisation of Peckham town centre.
– Saturday 27 November 2010, 12.30pm to 3.30pm
– Tuesday 30 November 2010, 6pm to 9pm
both at the Bussey building, 133 Rye Lane, SE15

The Council says: “These will be informal sessions. People may come for part of the time if they wish. There will be displays and information on the key emerging preferred options for the Peckham and Nunhead area action plan (PNAAP). As well as an early opportunity to find out what direction the preferred options are heading in, this is a chance to give initial thoughts and reactions as an input into finalising the preferred options that will be consulted on next year.”

Read more

“Peckham’s tremendous value waiting to be unlocked”

  “Peckham … one of London’s best kept secrets with tremendous value waiting to be unlocked… a zone 2 town centre within easy reach of London’s main employment centres. … there are frequent services into Victoria, Blackfriars and London Bridge – the journey from Peckham Rye to London Bridge takes just 10 minutes. And from 2012 … Peckham will be on the Tube map when the second phase of the East London Line extension is completed…” Cllr Fiona Colley, Cabinet member for Regeneration, said  on 7 October, at Tate Modern. “Our vision for regeneration in Peckham is … to build on the best of what we have. For imaginative developments which bring fine historic buildings back to life and alongside this exciting high quality new buildings…”  

She was speaking at the  NLA conference ‘Investing in Southwark’  and went on to say: “… we’ll be introducing a conservation area for central Peckham, not to prevent development, which is something the community and the council really wants, but to ensure that the quality of design we call for in Peckham is no less than we demand in other parts of the borough…

Of course regeneration isn’t just about buildings, it’s also about communities and perceptions… we have active community groups like the … Peckham Society and Peckham Vision – groups of residents and businesses who actively want to work in partnership with the council and developers to improve their areas, to protect the historic qualities of the area and to see high quality new developments. I know we have some representatives from those groups here today.  They are helping us to change the perception of … Peckham…

Peckham [is] emerging as [a] go-to cultural destination… There are many opportunities for investment and development in … Peckham.”  

Click here for full speech, and here for the presentation slides.

Building with communities: the case of Peckham (UK)

From Cityness blog –  What Makes the Urban Tick?

Old Waiting Room – restoration.
Picture by Benedict O’Looney

It is an understatement to say that quite a few urban planners and architects would like to keep local communities at bay during the process of developing the urban. Main reasons? Fear of NIMBY-behavior, fear of delays, fear of less-than-progressive ideas about what should be done and, in some cases, fear of people who are not part of the cozy inner-circle of architects, planners and designers. … Sometimes a dialogue of the deaf is the only result. … The Peckham Vision (UK) is an example where things went differently but with favorable results, as even architects in the Architects’ Journal acknowledge. Peckham Vision is a communal gathering in order to generate new ideas about the future of the Peckham town centre and its buildings. Read more at cityness.wordpress.com.

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

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…

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…