Peckham’s Cultural Heart Thriving in Spite of Tram Depot Threat

The Chronic Art Foundation, the CLF (Chronic Love Foundation), the Hannah Barry Gallery, and Peckham Vision, this week burst out into the public arena from their bases in and around the historic Bussey Building behind 133 Rye Lane. They are making a major contribution in many forms of art, music, architecture and urban planning in the ‘I Love Peckham Festival’.

All of this could be wiped out by TfL’s (Transport for London) plans to demolish the Bussey Building and the 7 acre site around it for the Cross River Tram Depot. TfL promised to do a thorough review and exploration of other sites for the several depots needed across the whole proposed network from Camden to Peckham & Brixton. But they have said nothing for two years. Meanwhile, in spite of the blight this has caused, the site they declared incorrectly as ‘derelict’ continues to go from strength to strength contributing magnificently to Peckham’s cultural, economic and social renaissance.

Art, Culture & Planning Burst Out From The Bussey Building Site

Modern Music & Art blends with Historic Peckham.

Dates for the diary during the I Love Peckham Festival this week: a visible expression of the burgeoning cultural creativity in and around the historic Bussey Building behind 133 Rye Lane.

  • Monday 14th  to Sunday 20th July, daily 1pm to 5pm: art, architecture, & town centre plans. Chronic Art Foundation exhibitions, 1st & 3rd floors, Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane entrance.
  • Monday 14th to Sunday 20th July, daily midday to 6pm: monumental outdoor sculpture. Hannah Barry Gallery, outdoor exhibition 10th Floor Multi-Storey Car Park. [note: this roof is an excellent place to see the decorative architectural side of the Bussey Building, that faces the railway line, and the car park.]
  • Wednesday 16th July, meet 6.30pm at Peckham Town Square. town centre architectural walk including historic Bussey Building & newly listed station.
  • Saturday 19th July, 2pm  Public Debate: Peckham’s cultural renaissance. live with South City Radio, 3rd floor in Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane entrance.
  • Saturday 19th to Sunday 20th July, 11am – 7pm, CLF Weekender (Chronic Love Foundation) I Love Peckham Live Music Finale, several stages across town centre.>
  • Sunday 20th July, 8pm to midnight, Closing Live Music Celebration of Festival. 1st floor Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane entrance.

Further information & details about these events

Queries: Peckham Residents’ Network <>
Information about the overall Festival:

Details of events

Exhibitions: MONDAY 14th JULY to SUNDAY 20th JULY:
Monday to Sunday 1pm-5pm daily.
Chronic Art Foundation Exhibition:
Venue: Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane entrance.
1st floor art gallery – paintings, sculpture, print, drawing …
3rd floor  Peckham Futures – visions and ideas for developments in central Rye Lane in and around Bussey building and adjacent sites.

Exhibition: MONDAY 14th JULY to SUNDAY 20th JULY:
Monday to Sunday midday to 6pm daily.
Hannah Barry Gallery: [the Gallery is in warehouse next to Bussey Building]
Venue for the outdoor exhibition: 10th Floor Multi-Storey Car Park, behind Multiplex Cinema: lift to Level 6. Follow signs to Level 10.
monumental outdoor sculpture specially made for the show ‘Bold Tendencies’.

Financial Times preview:

Town Centre Walk: WEDNESDAY 16th JULY  6.30pm to 8.30pm.
Walk begins at Peckham Square. Highlights include historic Victorian warehouse factory the Bussey Building & recently listed Peckham Rye station.
Led by local architect Benedict O’Looney.

Chronic Art Foundation with South City Radio (formerly Radio Peckham).
Venue: 3rd floor Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane entrance.
PUBLIC DEBATE live on The Primer radio programme with – ‘How Do We build the Culture Capital of London?’     Afternoon refreshments.
The Peckham Futures exhibition: plans, visions, ideas for exciting, sustainable regeneration in this heart of the town centre, nurturing creative businesses that have taken root in the Bussey Building and surrounding area.
Radio Preview: you can listen to a preview of the debate in the recent special edition of the monthly show ‘The Primer’ -  “Ben and Alice are joined by Benedict O’Looney for a special version of his ‘The Architecture Spot’. Benny looks at the famous Bussey Building and discusses plans for the future of the area …”

Music: ALL WEEKEND 19th & 20th JULY:
Saturday 11am to 7pm; Sunday 12 noon to 7pm.
Chronic Love Foundation presents a CLF Weekender:
The I Love Peckham Festival Finale 2008.
Cutting edge Live Music, Food, Art and Life.
Venues: across the heart of Peckham from Peckham Rye station to
Peckham Square and beyond – 2 days, 6 stages of over 250 artists.

Celebration: SUNDAY 20th JULY 8pm to midnight.
Chronic Art Foundation & Chronic Love Foundation present:
Festival Closing Event with live music & refreshments .
Venue: 1st floor, Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane entrance.


Election Candidates invited to Peckham

The Peckham Society, with Peckham Vision, has written to candidates for Mayor and Southwark/Lambeth Assembly candidates to ask:
“If you are elected, will you come to Peckham so that we:

  • can introduce you to Peckham’s historic town centre,
  • discuss how to ensure the protection of the historic buildings is well integrated into the plans for the tram project,
  • discuss how to utilise the protection of these historic assets to lever in external heritage funding for their rehabilitation and the regeneration of the town centre? … “

Read more …

Tram Depot could be located off Old Kent Road

Southwark News reports: ‘A Freedom of Information request has revealed that the depot for the Cross River Tram could end up just off the Old Kent Road.

Transport for London (TfL) had been reluctant to release the alternative sites which could park up to 48 trams, after an inspection of the favoured Peckham site stated that it should not house all the trams and that inspectors “..were not convinced that the site is the only feasible option for a single or principal tram depot.”.

The response to campaign group Peckham Vision showed that a site on Ilderton Road, near Millwall’s ground The Den, could be an alternative to the Peckham site and is so large it could house all the trams.

This week Brian Paddick, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor, has also released plans to place an alternative tram route along Old Kent Road which will roughly follow the route of the current 453 bus to Deptford, and will connect with the Cross River Tram at Waterloo. Read more …

Call for tram depot review

This week there are three letters in the South London Press about the tram crossing the river. One suggests also extending the tram to Streatham, and one urges that in the excitement about the tram route, the proposed site for the tram depot in Peckham must not be forgotten. TfL have still not done the  comprehensive review of all possible depot sites, and this needs to be done “to allow the centre of Peckham to be developed in a way that enhances the area as opposed to closing it off for a depot.”

Read more…

We need [tram] depot study

�I was intrigued by your article “Put tram line and says Shawcross” (Southwark News, 25th January). Whilst reserving my comments on the pros and cons of a tram tunnel under the park, it is great to see that Val Shawcross is asking for serious alternative considerations of the tram
depot locations. In Peckham Vision our campaign has been rightly pressing for a review of all possible tram depot locations. In order to correct the flawed way in which the proposed depot site right in the heart of Peckham town centre was chosen, the review must include an accurate and transparent comparison in public, of the merits and ‘dismerits’ of each site. So, I urge Val Shawcross and all those who want to see good decision making on the tram, to press for transparent feasibility study, including Environmental Impact Assessment, not only of Burgess Park but all other possible tram depot locations along and around the whole of the proposed tram route.

Alfred Banya (Peckham Vision)

A lot has been going on…

A lot has happened since the last blog. Here are some of the latest developments. More to follow.


If you are interested in the cross river tram – have you had your consultation brochure yet? If not get a copy from TfL at Freephone 08002 346 004 email The deadline for comments is 3O January.


The main consultation about the depot will happen later. But this brochure shows two options for the terminus – 1. going down Clayton Rd, Consort Rd and through the proposed tram depot site; 2. going down Cerise Road ending at the Multi storey car park. Both equidistant from Peckham Rye train station, but the Cerise Rd one is shorter and has less effect on houses and traffic, and could happen without a depot in Peckham.


Peckham Vision is suggesting people mention their concerns about the depot plans in the space for comments in the tram route consultation reply form, and support the call for a comprehensive review of all possible sites BEFORE the tram depot consultation. TfL are looking at a number of other sites, but this needs to be transparent and accurate unlike their previous site selection processes. The review needs to asses the technical issues, the costs, and the accurate positive & negative impact on each & every possible location, and the results made known before or at the beginning of the tram depot consultation.


Meeting with TfL on Thursday 1 February 7pm – 9pm at Willowbrook Centre, 48 Willowbrook Road, SE15 (Peckham Hill St opposite Bird in Bush Road). Organised by the Friends of Burgess Park. Get your queries answered by TfL, and discuss with others the issues of various options.


Proposed by Peckham Vision, this has now been set up, and is open to anyone interested in making a contribution. There will be a series of meetings over the next few months at the town hall to discuss the details across a number of topics covering the route options, the depot, and the benefits and disbenefits of the tram and the depot on Peckham. If you want to be involved in this, you need to be on the Council mailing list – email: phone: 020 7525 1018.

Planning Committee supports call for ‘comprehensive and fair’ review of tram depot locations

A Peckham Vision deputation to the Planning Committee Tuesday 5 December asked them to support the call for a comprehensive review of the tram depot locations. As a result the Committee have agreed to ask the Executive to make every effort to urge TfL to do a ‘comprehensive and fair’ assessment of all the possible depot locations.

Eileen Conn for Peckham Vision said “We are delighted as this acknowledges that the original assessment was not comprehensive and fair. Now we hope that the Executive will also agree to press TfL to do this comprehensive review, so that the decisions about the right places to locate the tram depots can be taken on accurate information instead of the ‘misinformation’ that the Peckham site was ‘derelict’.”

Peckham Vision have requested a deputation to the Executive at their meeting on 12 December to ask them to support the PLanning Committee’s call.

Tram depot needs proper examination

Letter to Southwark News

You report (23 November ‘first showing of the tram route plan’) the Peckham Vision view that “local businesses will go to the wall if the depot displaces them”‘. This is very true, and dozens of artists and several churches would go with them.

But in addition to that, there is yet another very important issue. This site, in the heart of Peckham Town Centre, is of strategic importance to its future. The significance of this has never been examined. Indeed, as we know, the Planning Inspector said that the decision to locate it in Peckham had been a ‘defective’ decision based on ‘misinformation’ that the site was ‘derelict’. The current successful uses just hint at the significant potential of the site to revive Peckham town centre; potential that would be lost for ever if the depot goes ahead. It all just needs to be properly examined, before it is too late. That is why it is essential that TfL gets ahead urgently with the comprehensive review called for by TfL’s own consultants’ report. We are glad to see that Val Shawcross supports the call for that comprehensive review.

Eileen Conn
pp Peckham Vision