Letter of the week in the South London Press

A Peckham resident won Letter of the Week in the South London Press (SLP) (24 November). She has recently moved to Peckham and been shocked to discover the plans to decimate the centre of Peckham for the tram depot.

The SLP has asked readers what they think about the depot plans and their impact. Peckham Vision encourages everyone to write in and give their views to help the debate: send your letters by email to newsdesk@slp.co.uk

Peckham Vision has replied:

Dear Editor, South London Press

Your Letter of the Week (24 November) drew attention to the devastating impact of the plan to put the tram depot in the heart of Peckham Town Centre. Thank you for seeking readers’ views on this, as it is essential there is a well informed debate about the issues this raises before final decisions are made. Peckham Vision, a group of local residents, traders, and artists, came together to do just this.

It has become obvious that this site may have significant potential for a whole new approach to Peckham Town Centre. The current uses are a mix of small start-up businesses, creative arts, and community centres in churches, and they give just a hint of the potential role the site could play at the heart of an integrated regeneration of Peckham town centre.

The significance of this has never been examined. Indeed, as we know, the Planning Inspector said that the decision to locate the depot in Peckham had been a ‘defective’ decision based on ‘misinformation’ that the site was ‘derelict’. It could be that the site is a priceless asset for a different future for Peckham town centre, a future that would be lost for ever if the depot goes ahead. This is not necessarily to be against the depot at this stage. But it all just needs to be thoroughly examined. That is why it is essential that TfL gets ahead urgently with the comprehensive review called for by TfL’s own consultants’ report.

A tram route through Peckham? Have your say

Public consultation on the proposed tram route connecting Peckham to Camden through Kings Cross began on 13th November and will run until 31st January 2007.

For details of the consultations visit http://www.tfl.gov.uk/trams/initiatives/crt/default.asp

For an early comment on the route proposals from Waterloo to Peckham, and on the depot plans, read Alfred’s Peckham blog Saturday 18th November on http://alfredbanya.blogspot.com/

The consultations on the depot will happen later. But it is important, in these route consultations, to register concerns and questions about the plans for the depot in Peckham. Urge the need for the comprehensive and comparative review of depot locations to start now. See blog for 31st October for more on this.

TfL pulls out of tram discussion at Peckham Community Council

From ‘Alfred’s Peckham’ on http://alfredbanya.blogspot.com/

I turned up to the Peckham Community Council meeting last night ready to press Transport for London (TfL) on the urgent need for a comprehensive review of depot site options along the proposed tram route. Along with many others who turned up to hear TfL talk aboout their planned tram route consultation, I was extremely disappointed to learn that TfL decided not to turn up. Councillor Tayo Situ, Chair of the Peckham Community Council demanded that officers write to TfL and ask for an apology.

Last Monday a TfL representative was met with a large turnout of residents who asked very searching questions about the tram at the Nunhead and Peckham Rye Community Council. Perhaps the experience frightened them off? The good news however was that I was given ample opportunity on behalf of Peckham Vision to present the three key proposals that we had previously presented to the Nunhead and Peckham Rye Cmmunity Council that:
a) site 63P be considered a strategic site of major importance for the devlopment of Peckham town centre
b) the community council agrees to explore the establishment of a joint working group with Nunhead and Peckham Rye Community Council on the tram project and associated developments and report back to the next meeting
c) the community council ask the council executive to use its position on the Cross River Partnership to press for a comprehensive review of tram depot options, including traffic impact assessment on Peckham.
These were all agreed.

Peckham dismay over small depot reduction

Campaigners in Peckham are dismayed after they discovered the reduction in size of the planned depot for the Cross River Transit in their town is only 0.4 of an acre – this after Transport for London were ordered to make it smaller by government inspectors.

The local residents group Peckham Vision have obtained copies of the altered plans through the Freedom of Information Act, and are reported to be “angry” and “dismayed” that they are not going to spared a large depot in the area.

Alfred Banya, spokesman from the group, commented: “The information we were given was that it would be smaller but it wasn’t significantly different. We are now calling for a comprehensive review of all the possible sites. There may be other places that are more suitable than Peckham town centre and we do not feel that there has been a proper consultation.”

It has now been decided that a working group will be set up between
Southwark Council and the Nunhead and Peckham Rye Community Council to attempt to ensure everyone in the area who wants a say, and is affected by the plans, is heard.

Eileen Conn, also from Peckham Vision, said: “Being part of a new
joint working group means the community can at last be properly involved in the plans. It is vital that there is a thorough review of the impact of a depot, as the original site selection process was seriously
flawed.”

It is planned to start a consultation on the tram route for Cross River
Transit on 11 November, but this is not due to feature are dialogue on the location of the depot.

Source: icSouthLondon

From BritishTramsOnline.co.uk

UDP Latest News – 5 November 2006

The 6 week consultation period on the UDP modifications ended on 13th October. Council officers are now writing a report on all the comments and objections to the whole of the UDP which covers all of Southwark borough. We are told that the report will be put to the Planning Committee on 5th December, and they will report to the Executive Committee on 12th December. The Executive at that meeting will be deciding whether to modify the UDP in response to any objections, and then making recommendations on this to the Council Assembly which meets on 24th January 07.

The meetings are all at the Town Hall and start at 7pm. If you want a proper review of the possible depot locations, including a thorough assessment of the impact on Peckham, please come to those meetings and show your support. To keep up to date on this, email: info@peckhamvision.org

Tram Site Review

Letter to Southwark News

On Monday the 30th October there was standing room only at the Nunhead and Peckham Rye Community Council. Campaigners for effective community participation in the proposed ‘Tram Project’ turned up in large numbers. Led by Peckham Vision they lobbied local Councillors who agreed to the campaigners’ proposals that:
a) site 63P (the proposed depot location in Peckham) is recognised as a site of strategic importance for the future of Peckham town centre
b) a joint working group with neighbouring Peckham Community Council is established to discuss the proposed tram route, tram depot and related developments
c) the Community Council asks the Council’s Executive to get a comprehensive depot review, including a traffic impact assessment on Peckham.

On the agenda for the night was a presentation by Transport for London announcing their consultation on the tram route from 14th November to the 31st January. Peckham Vision must however be commended for turning the focus of the evening’s discussion instead on the tram depot by asking two key questions:

1. What is the right use of site 63P for the future of Peckham Town Centre?
2. What is the right place to locate the Tram Depot?

These questions were asked against the background that TfL’s own report recently emphasised the need for “Ensuring that there is a sound, defensible, comprehensive basis to the selection depot sites..” The same report recommended that there should be a “Comprehensive site review, initially property based, exploring potential sites over entire Cross River Tram network area” and that there should be “Further investigation into existing use and users of sites explored..” The challenge now is for the Executive to do the right thing and use Southwark’s position on the Cross River Partnership to press for a proper comprehensive review of depot site options along the proposed tram route.

Don’t forget election pledges on SE15 tram

Letter to Southwark News

Leading up to the local elections this year, the main political parties made their positions on the proposed Peckham tram depot clear in the Southwark News of April 27th. A spokeswoman for the LibDem group said they backed the tram “However, our preference is for the depot to be sited in the Kings Cross redevelopment area, as it was originally planned. Ken Livingstone decided not to go ahead with the Kings Cross plan and now tells us that Peckham is the only option. We would urge him to reconsider other options” Councillor Peter John, Leader of the Labour Party said “I would like to see the tram serving Dulwich as well , but I am not advocating a depot in Dulwich – depots don’t have to be at the end of the line. I think it is absolutely crazy building a depot in Peckham”. Labour Transport spokesman Councillor Barrie Hargrove also said “The Labour group fully back the tram…However the case for the Peckham site for the depot has not yet been proven. We need to make sure we look at a range of sites”. Kim Humphries, the Conservative leader echoed this by saying “I hope the planning authorities can come up with a suitable location for the trams that does not blight the area for residents so we will work with local residents to find a mutually agreeable solution. In the recent consultation on the Southwark Unitary development Plan modifications there have been many objections to locating part of the tram depot in Peckham. The question is whether Councillors will ‘walk the talk’� and listen to these local views. I just hope so in light of the statements made prior to the May elections.

Call For Public Inquiry To Be Re-opened

There have been many objections to the UDP proposal to locate part of the tram depot in Peckham, because it is not consistent with the Planning Inspector’s assessment that any split-site tram depot should seek to protect the majority of the jobs on the site and the amenity of the neighbouring residents.Several objectors have called for the Public Inquiry to be re-opened. Peckham Vision said:

The split-site depot policy is a completely new policy since the UDP Public Inquiry. We propose therefore that there should be a re-opened Public Inquiry into this new policy proposal to enable all affected to have their statutory right to consider, comment or object to the proposed new policy.

There are also calls for the Council to make a public commitment to a public and comprehensive review of potential sites across the entire Cross River Tram network area as recommended by the September 2006 Phase 2 report on the Tram Depot prepared for TfL.

The UDP Process Has Failed Peckham

The UDP process has been grinding on since 2002, revising the Council’s Land Use policy for the whole Borough. In many cases it has produced some real improvements, and has engaged the public. But for Peckham town centre it has spectacularly failed on both counts. It is designating a huge part of the town centre for a tram depot without there having been any information published about what this means, nor any opportunities to discuss the impact and other potential for the site.

The aim of the Peckham Vision campaign is to achieve a proper review of the impact of the tram depot plans on the Peckham town centre, so that we can have an informed discussion about this central part of Peckham before it is too late. The campaign is about minimising as much as possible the impact of the proposed tram depot. The UDP process forces us to make comments as objections and so appear to dwell on the negative impacts of the depot plan. This seems to be the only way at this stage of the UDP process to register the deep and wide concerns in Peckham about the tram depot proposals.

The lack of will on the part of the Council and TfL to engage with the public on this was illustrated during the I Love Peckham festival in August. They brought their exhibition stand about the tram to the town square and there was no mention at all of the plan to put the tram depot in Peckham town centre! It just didn’t exist.

All the information we are disseminating has been extracted under the Freedom of Information Act. Had it not been for our campaign very few would know of the huge scale of the plans. The draft UDP said nothing except the words ‘tram depot’ and now, after the Inspector rejected that, the modification to ‘split-site tram depot’. There is still nothing published about the fact that the revised plan would demolish most of the huge UDP site 63P, and change the road system probably adversely affecting all traffic through Peckham town centre and residential areas.

The UDP processes as far as Peckham town centre is concerned have so far been a significant failure in ventilating the issues for owners, occupiers, residents and others. Let’s try to make a difference by sending in to the Council by 13 October the Representation Forms in this last chance to object to the current plans. See blog below for information on this.