TfL urged to reveal their tram depot plans in Peckham


TfL’s new plans for the split-site tram depot in the heart of Peckham town centre could have devastating effects on homes, jobs, businesses, artists and other community uses, and blight the town centre for years. We just don’t know exactly what the effects will be because no information has been released about these new plans. We do know that the Planning Inspector has already rejected the original plan because of its devastating effects. There are indications that the new plans could be as bad.

There will be a Peckham Vision deputation to full Council Assembly
Council Chamber
Town Hall
Peckham Road, SE5

Peckham Vision will be urging full Council to press TfL

  • to reveal their plans for a depot on this huge site in the heart of Peckham town centre so that there can be a transparent and informed discussion about the effects on Peckham.
  • to conduct a full public review of all split-site options and alternatives.

On Monday the deputation to the Executive

  • recognised the technical Planning need to safeguard the site for the depot
  • asked that the UDP be modified to recognise that it was too premature to take the final decisions on the tram depot location in Peckham
  • suggested the UDP be modified so that the site would be: ‘safeguarded pending a full public review of all split-site options and alternatives’.

The deputation were dismayed that the Executive rejected this modest and practical proposal. The deputation on Wednesday will be drawing these important matters for the future of Peckham to the attention of the full Council, andseeking cross-party support to put pressure on Transport for London to release information about their latest plans and urgently conduct a public review of split-site options and alternatives. Only then can anyone assess what the effect would be on Peckham.

Eileen Conn
pp Peckham Vision

Peckham Vision is a consortium of local residents, artists and businesses, who have come together with the Peckham Society, to seek information about the development plans for Peckham Town Centre, including the tram and tram depot, raise public awareness of these issues and stimulate an informed discussion about the future of Peckham.


Peckham Vision leads two deputations this coming week to Southwark Council, Town Hall, Peckham Road, SE5:

on MONDAY 26 JUNE at 7pm

on WEDNESDAY 28 JUNE at 7pm

Peckham Vision will be asking the Executive to get a full review of the possible sites and a comparative evaluation of them before the final decisions are taken about a tram depot in Peckham. Otherwise this will be another ‘defective’ decision, as the Inspector called the original choice of Peckham for the depot.


The Executive is the group of councillors who make the main decisions for the Council. On Monday they will be agreeing the modifications to be made to the UDP.� The Inspector rejected the original proposal for the
‘single-site’ tram depot because of the loss of jobs, businesses, housing and community uses, and the disruption it would cause to the town centre.

Instead he recommended a ‘split-site’ tram depot, but, unfortunately, did not put any limit on the size and arrangement of the split-site depot. The indications are that the new split-site depot proposal will still be very big, and may have similar damaging effects on the town centre as the single-site depot.

Peckham Vision deputation told the Planning Committee last week that the decision to designate this site now for the tram depot, without having these details, was premature. Before a final decision, there should be a thorough review of the effects on Peckham town centre and a comparative evaluation with the other sites.

Peckham Town Centre “offered up as depot for tram”


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.


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.

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:
(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

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 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 : June – 30 June Notions of Drawing: Private View Thursday 8 June 6.30pm
Other times unknown; contact:

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

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

Local Community Unaware of Council’s Plans

On Saturday (21-1-06) about 200 people crowded into a small art gallery in the Bussey Building, just off Rye Lane. They were given a tour of the roof with its extensive views over London and were shown details of the proposed tram depot on Rye Lane/Bournemouth Road. This Peckham Society meeting was organised by Peckham Vision a consortium of local residents, artists and businesses.
For nearly everyone at this historic meeting, it was the first time that they had seen any plans for a maintenance depot for a tram from Peckham to Camden. Very few people at the meeting were aware of the depot proposal at all, let alone its enormous scale and impact on the Town Centre. Local ward Cllr Andy Simmons said they had not been told of the extent of Transport for London (TfL) depot plans, and too much was going on behind closed doors.
While some members of the public seemed receptive to the idea of connecting Peckham to Camden with a tram, they were surprised and concerned to hear that a very large, noisy engineering depot and marshalling yard, to repair and maintain the trams and work on them overnight, might be located in the heart of Peckham Town Centre. This would displace around 600 local jobs and 40 businesses, some 60 local artists, an entire row of Rye Lane shops, 9 established churches, and 40 brand new affordable homes.
Peckham is not the only location considered for the tram depot, nor was it the original preferred location. Yet no adequate public consultation appears to have happened in relation to Peckham or any of the 28 other sites examined. Nor, it seems, has there been an examination of the true impact and the economic, commercial, traffic and social costs of a tram depot in Peckham Town Centre.
There was overwhelming concern at the lack of information that has been made available by TfL and Southwark Council, and at being seemingly presented with a fait accompli. There were repeated requests for release of information now before the formal consultation period.
The adverse consequences for businesses, jobs, homes, traffic, planning blight, shopping and historic buildings need to be discussed now by people who live and work in Peckham. Only then will local people and the Council be able to have an informed discussion about the future of Peckham.


1. Plan of the tram depot. 2. Photos of the meeting (sent by separate email)
Contact Details:
Peckham Vision:
Notes for Editors

  1. The tram depot idea appeared in March 2004 in the draft UDP (Unitary Development Plan) apparently as potential mixed use combining a depot with new businesses, shops, housing, leisure and community facilities. The information secured by objectors, under the Freedom of Information Act in the course of the UDP public Inquiry in 2005, instead shows the very large site occupied only by a tram depot and a row of small shallow shops on Rye Lane the prime shopping street.
  2. The comparison of several possible locations for the depot implies that the Peckham site is mostly derelict with little significant activity on it. This is far from the case. In fact it is a thriving industrial park (CIP) providing a flexible and adaptable space for a variety of small businesses and community uses, a new social housing development of 40 flats just nearing completion (owned by Wandle Housing Association), and two large commercial buildings on the Rye Lane/Bournemouth Road frontage which have been refused planning permission for redevelopment, conversion and rehabilitation for shops and over 60 flats (owned by MacNiven & Cameron).
  3. An artists community of some 60 artists has established itself on the site and last October launched an art gallery with a month long exhibition as ‘Ruthless Peckham’. The success of this has led to the second exhibition running for a month from 19 January. This use of the site illustrates its potential for contributing to the recognised emergence of Peckham as a south London hub for creative entrepreneurs. The Peckham Society has a 30 year record of championing developments which celebrate and encourage the new alongside preservation of Peckham’s extensive historic heritage. Peckham Vision is a consortium of local residents, artists and businesses, who have come together to promote awareness of the issues.

Peckham Vision Event 21 January 2006

�Extract from Bellenden Residents’ Group Newsletter – February 2006

Peckham Vision Event� 21 January 2006

On the afternoon of Saturday 21 January 2006, about 200 local people crowded into a small art gallery in the Bussey Building, an historic solidly built Victorian factory, just off Rye Lane, in the Copeland Industrial Park (CIP), which is part of the semi-hidden enclave from the railway lines to Rye Lane, Bournemouth Road and Consort Road railway bridge. They were given a tour of the roof with its panoramic views over London, visual presentations of the historic architectural treasures throughout the town centre, and some details of the proposed tram maintenance depot. Artists working on the site shared their art gallery with the event, and with the exhibition of material about the town centre (this is open to 19th February, Wed-Sun 12pm-5pm). This was a Peckham Society meeting organised by Peckham Vision, a consortium of local residents, artists and businesses who have come together to seek information about the development plans for Peckham Town Centre, raise public awareness of these issues and stimulate an informed discussion between local people and the Council about the future of Peckham town centre.

Historic Treasures and Station Renovations

People were amazed to discover the extent of the wonderful historic architecture still there in the town centre, including wooden timbered buildings on the High St from the 17th century, but dismayed to hear how vulnerable it all is. The Peckham Society is working with the Conservation Unit in the Council to develop a Conservation Area to give the buildings some protection from demolition without warning. For more information contact & In parallel, the Rye Lane & Station Action Group (RLSAG), a joint residents� & Council group, has been focusing on improvements to the station and central Rye Lane shopping area. In the next few months new lighting around the station should make an impact. Inside the station there is an exciting project to transform passengers� experience. This is the first stage of reintegration into the station of the original enormous waiting room between platforms 2 & 3. The project will unbrick the large old windows, and project light from inside to the platforms. This is just a prelude to encouraging investment to bring that magnificent space back into social and communal use, and longer term to re-open the piazza in front of the station. If you want to know more about the RLSAG and its work please contact Eileen� email�

Proposed Tram Maintenance Depot

On the other side of Rye Lane there is a lively, busy multi-functional and adaptable industrial square tucked away in the semi-hidden enclave behind Rye Lane and Bournemouth Road. There is a passage way into this space, rather like Harry Potter�s platform 9&3/4 at Kings Cross! This is a doorway at No 133 Rye Lane (opposite Blenheim Grove). Walking along the passage takes you into an unexpected world of industrial, trading, social and artistic endeavours, where hundreds of people are occupied. This site has been designated by the Council in the draft Unitary Development Plan (UDP) as the site for the maintenance depot for the proposed Cross River Tram between Peckham and Camden. Last year, it was revealed, through the Freedom of Information Act during the UDP Public Inquiry, that the references to a tram depot with other business, residential and leisure uses were in fact plans for a huge maintenance depot for over 40 trams in the heart of the town centre, apparently with no room left for other uses except some shallow retail units on the Rye Lane frontage.

Displays of the tram depot plans are included in the exhibition. The trams would travel from the High St to the depot behind Bournemouth Road and Rye Lane, with probably one tram every two minutes under the Consort Road bridge, competing for road space with north�south road traffic through Peckham. The information acquired as a result of the public inquiry did not indicate that there had been a thorough examination of the impact of imposing a large engineering site in the heart of the town centre and of the costs for businesses, jobs, homes, traffic, planning blight, shopping and historic buildings. One of the purposes of the event was to make the available information more accessible to the general public. There was overwhelming concern at the lack of information from TfL (Transport for London) and the Council. There were repeated requests for release of further information before the formal consultation period. This is essential for local people to have their own conversations to work out what they think. Only then can there be useful informed discussions between local people and the Council about the future of Peckham. There will be further Peckham Vision events to assist in this public conversation. The next will be on Saturday 18th March to focus on the tram and the tram maintenance depot. See details under Events, page 7. If you would like to know more, email