Peckham Town Centre “offered up as depot for tram”

PRESS RELEASE FROM PECKHAM VISION
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At a Planning meeting on Monday 19 June in Southwark Town Hall, the councillors fresh from their election campaigns discussed the proposed Cross River Tram (CRT). At this meeting, it became apparent that the reasoned views of “Peckham Vision”, the local group campaigning for informed discussion, were being stifled. The Chair was more interested in closing the meeting than in listening to local residents’ views. Committee Members were also not allowed to ask the Peckham Vision deputation any questions.

One of the local Councillors discussed “Safeguarding” the site from future redevelopment and regeneration efforts so that this site can be used as a large single industrial use as a tram depot. This idea was encouraged by the Planning Officers.

This decision is highly premature and a travesty of good decision making. It repeats all that was wrong with the original selection of Peckham by TfL for a tram depot, which the Planning Inspector described as ‘defective’ and based on ‘misinformation’ that the site was near derelict and vacant.

It seems that the case for the depot is that Peckham town centre had to be offered up to keep the other boroughs supporting the tram project. The case for it regenerating the town centre had been revealed by the Planning Inspector as baseless.

Under these proposals Peckham Town Centre will be blighted for years to come. Peckham Vision remains committed to campaigning for an informed debate about the future of Peckham town centre.

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NOTES TO EDITORS

Next week key decisions will be taken by Southwark Council on the draft Unitary Development Plan (UDP). This includes the designation of the heart of Peckham town centre for the tram depot. The Executive will decide on Monday 26th June its recommendations to full Council Assembly on Wednesday 28th June. The Assembly’s decisions will be put to final public consultation for 6 weeks later this year, though the Council are indicating that they will not listen to any comments which show this to be the wrong decision for Peckham.

Peckham Vision is a collection of Local Residents, Artists, Businesses Land Owners, Local Amenity Society and other interested bodies who want to see a well informed proper public debate on the future of Peckham.
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Proposed Tram Maintenance Depot – latest news

Extract from Bellenden Residents’ Group Newsletter – May 2006A few days before the Peckham Vision meeting on 18 March, the Planning Inspector’s draft report on the Council’s UDP (Unitary Development Plan) was made available. See:
http://www.southwark.gov.uk/YourServices/planningandbuildingcontrol/planningpolicy
(click on draft inspector’s report Part II) This revealed that the Inspector had rejected the Council’s plan to use the heart of Peckham Town Centre for the tram maintenance depot. The depot was to house the 48 trams of the proposed Cross River tram route between Camden and Peckham. The Inspector said that Peckham had been chosen as the preferred site on the basis of misinformation in the report comparing over 20 potential sites. He said: Amazingly the site is described as vacant and derelict  that is simply not true  it is far from derelictthe comparative evaluation and selection process have been defective the loss of existing jobs and the disruption of businesses and other uses on the site is not justified. The land provides good opportunities for new and small businesses.

Peckham Vision reported this at the meeting, along with a brief account of what had been learnt by residents through the public inquiry in 2005 about the site selection process. There was a slide show of the site showing how adaptable the buildings were because of the wide variety of uses they were capable of accommodating. Some businesses which are affected, and were present, had only recently heard about the plans and were horrified.

The Peckham Society presented at the meeting an alternative route for the tram, without the tram depot, through Peckham town centre, showing how a final stop could be located near the station at the multi-storey car park. There was also a presentation of an alternative view of the site as a significant contributor to a more organic and gradual development of the central area of Rye Lane. The new Council, after the 4 May election, will be deciding whether or not to accept the Inspector’s report. There was a call at the meeting for a petition so that local people could express their support for the Inspector’s decision. This petition is now available. Help is needed to collect signatures now. If you can help in this or just want a petition to sign yourself, or email BRG@nutbrook.demon.co.uk

Artists Exhibitions on the site

Since the first exhibition last October, by the artists with studios on the threatened site, there have been a number of exhibitions. The current series is:

 21 April – 14 May The Mouse that Roared: 12pm-6pm Thursday-Sunday
www.project133.com 17 May – 4 June Inside/Outside: Private View Thursday 17 May 6.30pm-9.30pm;
Open daily 11am-5pm, except Mondays.
Film Nights- selected artists & The Invited Cinema: Fridays 19 May, 26 May, 2 June at 7pm.
email : alicewhite@dial.pipex.com www.artistsshowart.co.uk8 June – 30 June Notions of Drawing: Private View Thursday 8 June 6.30pm
Other times unknown; contact:
email: info@artbust.co.uk www.artbust.co.uk

These exhibitions of work by artists, working (in a variety of media) on the site, have been an excellent addition to Peckham life. They further illustrate the adaptability of the buildings there. In all the exhibitions, there has been a display of information and material about the site and its potential, and the latest news on the plans for the proposed tram depot. This will continue at the coming exhibitions, which are well worth visiting