Tram Working Group goes walkabout

Several residents and council officers assembled outside Oliver Goldsmith’s School on Southampton Way at 3pm Thursday 14 June for the walk along the route of the tram as it might enter Peckham town centre. We traced the route along Peckham Road in front of St James’s school and along Jocelyn St to the town square, Peckham Pulse and Peckham Library, across Peckham Hill St and Peckham High St through Morrison’s car park, along Cerise Rd to the multi-storey car park area, which is TfL’s terminus option 2.

We walked under the railway bridge past 133 Rye Lane the entrance to the Peckham Business Park which would be decimated by the depot, along Bournemouth Rd, to Copeland Rd, past the bus garage depot, around the back of BuildBase along Brayard’s Rd, past St Mary Magdalene primary school, and back along Consort Rd to the railway bridge, where one tram would enter or exit the depot every two minutes, stopping the main flow of north/south road traffic. From 133 Rye Lane to the railway bridge we had walked the boundary of site 63P/71P, designated for the tram depot. Most there were surprised at how very large the area is that would be closed off for the depot, even though they had seen the maps.

Afterwards we adjourned to the Peckham Programme office to review our findings. We put together a very useful detailed list of all the issues and questions raised by the options we had explored on the ground, including several not mentioned by TfL. We compiled a good list of points to take to the next Tram Working Group meeting on Monday 16th July 6.30pm. For further information on this meeting contact Liza on liza.morshead@southwark.gov.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

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.

The Peckham Society News, Summer 2006, No. 104

INSPECTOR CRITICISES BOURNEMOUTH ROAD SITE FOR TRAM DEPOT

The Southwark Council website has disclosed that the Inspector at the inquiry to Southwark�s Unitary Development Plan (UDP) has criticised Southwark Council for promoting the Bournemouth Road site for the tram depot by describing it as derelict and ripe for development.

On Saturday 18 March 2006 Peckham Vision arranged a follow-up meeting following the very successful Peckham Society meeting on 21 January. Peckham Vision is a small group comprising representatives of local residents, the Peckham Society, artists and businesses. This group wishes to raise awareness on issues concerning central Peckham.� The symposium had a similar format and venue compared to the 21 January meeting. There were exhibitions showing enlarged maps and pictures of the historic centre of Peckham. There was the opportunity to view the layout of the Bournemouth Road site from the roof of the Bussey building and also see the heritage features of Peckham Rye Station and the proposed central conservation area.
The intention of this Peckham Vision meeting was to focus on the proposed depot and maintenance sites for the Cross River Tramway from Camden. The proposed Peckham Society route for the tram which avoids the historic buildings was also demonstrated.� The Inspector�s report disclosure on the website, which neither Transport for London (TfL) nor the leader of Southwark Council knew about, was the main talking point. For many reasons the inspector turned down Southwark�s promotion of the site for a tram depot. Southwark Council have the last word and could recommend this site for the depot.

Eileen Conn introduced the meeting on the themes of:

  • Would the depot be good or bad for Peckham?
  • Where else should the depot be?
  • What are the alternative routes in Peckham?

Reference to a map indicated the size of the five acre site and the TfL route to gain access to the site. Chris Reese mentioned the other depot proposals on the tram route and that it was only in the most recent depot proposals that Peckham had been mentioned. Previously Peckham had been discounted by TfL. Peter Frost followed Chris and mentioned the splitting of both tram routes, to the north, Camden and King�s Cross and the Emirates Stadium (Arsenal FC) and to the south Peckham and Brixton. There would be a common route between Mornington Crescent and the Elephant & Castle. Adam Khan suggested alternative uses for the site and Benny O�Looney showed the Peckham Society alternative central route.

We had a long question and answer session and many people gave their views on the tram and depot proposals. The meeting of about eighty people was given as much information as we had at our disposal. Hopefully next time TfL, Cross River Partnership and Southwark Council will attend so that we can have a more meaningful dialogue.

Peter Frost

Local people flock to “Peckham Vision”

The Peckham Society News, Spring 2006, No. 103

On 21 January the Peckham Society through �Peckham Vision� arranged a historical event and meeting about the future of Peckham town centre. The venue was innovative as it was held in a CIP (Copeland Industrial Park) building which in the 19th century was a factory for making sports goods including cricket bats made from willow grown in Suffolk. This site is enclosed by Rye Lane, Bournemouth Road, Copeland Road and the Moncrieff railway viaduct.

Peckham Vision is a consortium of local residents, artists and businesses who want to raise awareness of the issues relating to central Peckham and stimulate an informed discussion. The Peckham Society is taking an active part. The significance of the site is that at the UDP (Unitary Development Plan) meetings last year it was discovered that Tfl (Transport for London) was to demolish all the buildings on this triangular site and build a huge tram maintenance depot and terminal. The site owners and owners of the Rye Lane shops knew nothing of this plan. The aims of this event and meeting were to make accessible to the public the information about central Peckham and in turn to inform the public and residents about the vision we have for central Peckham acquired during the UDP inquiry. The event also aimed to help inspire the public and residents with the vision the Peckham Society and others have for central Peckham which includes the designation of a conservation area.

An hour before the meeting, conducted tours were made to the top of the 5-storey building to see the splendid view over Peckham, and indeed the whole of central London. The beauty of Peckham Rye station, designed by Charles William Driver in 1865 was clear from above. The Peckham Society, through the Rye Lane and Station Action Group, have been instrumental in securing agreement to open up the bricked up windows of the large old waiting room. The Peckham Society�s aim, now agreed by Southwark Council and Southern Rail, is to open up the piazza, in front of the station by demolition of the 20th century buildings in the forecourt. The Peckham Society is trying for the second time to have this handsome station listed; two others designed by Charles Driver already are.

The line of the Peckham High Street buildings with several 17th century wood framed buildings can be seen from the roof, bisected by Peckham Hill Street. This is the core of the proposed conservation area, including the west side of Peckham Hill Street and 200 metres of Peckham High Street either side of the end of Peckham Hill Street. Southwards it will link with the Rye Lane West conservation area ending at Heaton Road. The conservation area would protect buildings from demolition and improve the standards and design of any new developments. Looking south over the site the tall Wandle building of 40 flats is nearing completion. This was built despite Tfl putting a hold on any new developments and could sabotage their plans for the tram depot. Just beyond the Wandle building on the corner of Rye Lane and Bournemouth Road is the Macniven and Cameron site (60-100 proposed apartments and renovated retail) which has gone to appeal with the planning department, because the first application was turned down. Additional to these homes being lost, about 600 people work in businesses and nine churches successfully worship and act as a community focus on the site.
Simultaneously with the roof tours, an exhibition of illustrated boards showed the proposed conservation area, views and maps of the site and one of the possible routes in Peckham of the Camden to Peckham tramway and proposed maintenance depot. In the one map of the tram route we have, the tram will pass through central Peckham and zig-zag its way to go beneath the Consort Road railway bridge and turn at a severe angle into the site which would also have the terminus tramway platforms. It is anticipated that one tram will pass under the bridge every two minutes. There were hand-outs of information from the Cross River Partnership (CRP) who represent the four boroughs through which the tram will pass. The exhibition hall was enlivened by a simultaneous art exhibition which added colour, from the artists working on the site. Two film documentary students from Goldsmiths College filmed the proceedings to record an illustration of community groups in action. All expectations of numbers were exceeded; the estimate was that over 200 people were present, so most had to stand. Those attending were requested to write down their contact details and leave comments and questions on post-it slips. Tea and coffee were freely available during the afternoon.

The meeting, beginning after the viewing, was chaired by the chair of the Peckham Society and co-ordinated by Eileen Conn.� The presentations were short and focussed so there was adequate time for questions. Sarah Beuden and David Ware put forward the Council�s view on the planning process for the Peckham Area Action Plan (PAAP) where the tram and depot would play a significant role. Tfl and the Council came under much criticism from the assembled gathering because of the lack of information given to the public. Eileen Conn spoke about the residents� perspectives on town centre issues and how essential it was that the local people had enough information to think about them before formal discussions began. Benedict O�Looney and Steven Robb of the Peckham Society presented an excellent pictorial view of central Peckham illustrating the proposed conservation area and historic buildings at risk. Adam Khan, a local resident and architect, showed an urban designer�s view of the site, illustrating its flexibility and adaptability � just what Peckham needs for the future. We had intended at this point to focus on the wall displays but the audience was too packed to circulate. Instead we introduced topics suggested from the floor and discussed them. Representation at the meeting was far ranging with people from all over Peckham and included ward councillors, members of sister organisations who care for the environment and the local Greater London Assembly representative Val Shawcross.

The main conclusions were that the Council had to engage the local residents in their proposals and in turn listen to them to find mutually acceptable solutions. Andy Simmons, a local ward councillor, summed up the meeting rather well and made the most telling remark that the Council knew of the scale of the tram depot proposals two years ago, but he didn�t know until last summer. The adverse consequences to jobs, homes, traffic, shopping, church worship and historic buildings needs to be addressed. The tram is proposed to run in 2016 at the earliest; this could create planning blight for a decade. Good information on all these issues needs to be available to enable informed discussions between people who live and work in Peckham.

Peter Frost