Peckham community celebrates town centre achievements

Peckham Town Centre Forum

Peckham Town Centre Forum

This was a fantastic community meeting celebrating recent achievements for Peckham town centre. Over 200 locals from Peckham’s diverse social, economic and ethnic communities crowded in to the CLF Art Café in the Bussey building, to hear the latest news from Peckham Vision and the Council. Senior figures from Network Rail, Southern Railway and the Railway Heritage Trust voiced their support for community initiatives at Peckham Rye station in Peckham town centre; see video clip. Read more

Royal Court at the Bussey building, Peckham


From Sep to Nov 2011 the Royal Court theatre, based in Sloane Sq, brought its Theatre Local to the Bussey building in Peckham with two plays Truth and Reconciliation and The Westbridge . The two month run was so successful it caught the BBC News on 15th Nov 2011:

* BBC1 6.30pm TV News

* BBC Breakfast Show – Radio with Paul Ross + Gabby Roslin

See also Guardian.co.uk

The plays were very topical, and thought provoking. Advance tickets were sold out: the 30 tickets kept back for local sale at the door from 5.30pm each evening were in great demand. The Westbridge which premiered at the Bussey has now transferred to Sloane Square.

It is wonderful to see our very own Bussey building showing how adaptable it is. A great place for theatre as we always knew it could be. The space was provided by the CLF Art Café in the Bussey working in partnership with Peckham Vision to encourage the Royal Court to come. We hope it will lead to continued work in the future with the Royal Court.

What would you like to see in this space?

This is the restored Old Waiting Room at the station.  What kind of use would be well used?  What would make Peckham town centre an attractive place to visit? What would make the area more attractive for other commercial investment? What would be a good business proposal?  Would you like to see:

  • Refreshments, & what kinds of refreshments?
  • Art gallery exhibitions?
  • Training workshops for young people?
  • Community meetings?
  • Theatre performances?
  • Office & workshop spaces?
  • Other ideas?

Everyone is asked to send their suggestions and comments to oldwaitingroom@gmail.com

further information: www.peckhamvision.org/wiki/Peckham_Rye_Station

This is the secret room above the ticket hall, brought back into life by a local community initiative funded by small grants, 2008 – 2011, from the Community Council CGS programme. The Community Council applauded at their 8th December 2010 meeting the latest reports and pictures, and started the discussion about suitable commercial uses to make the best of the wonderful space.

Further funds are being sought to continue the restoration to the external staircase, & to improve the station walkways. This would be the public entrance to the space and make it useable for public activities.

Local residents are developing a social enterprise project to bid for the lease from Network Rail for a multi purpose flexible venue. For more information, see brief  here,  and blog here  http://peckhamresidents.wordpress.com and  .

If you want to get involved in this exciting project  email  oldwaitingroom@gmail.com

“Peckham’s tremendous value waiting to be unlocked”

  “Peckham … one of London’s best kept secrets with tremendous value waiting to be unlocked… a zone 2 town centre within easy reach of London’s main employment centres. … there are frequent services into Victoria, Blackfriars and London Bridge – the journey from Peckham Rye to London Bridge takes just 10 minutes. And from 2012 … Peckham will be on the Tube map when the second phase of the East London Line extension is completed…” Cllr Fiona Colley, Cabinet member for Regeneration, said  on 7 October, at Tate Modern. “Our vision for regeneration in Peckham is … to build on the best of what we have. For imaginative developments which bring fine historic buildings back to life and alongside this exciting high quality new buildings…”  

She was speaking at the  NLA conference ‘Investing in Southwark’  and went on to say: “… we’ll be introducing a conservation area for central Peckham, not to prevent development, which is something the community and the council really wants, but to ensure that the quality of design we call for in Peckham is no less than we demand in other parts of the borough…

Of course regeneration isn’t just about buildings, it’s also about communities and perceptions… we have active community groups like the … Peckham Society and Peckham Vision – groups of residents and businesses who actively want to work in partnership with the council and developers to improve their areas, to protect the historic qualities of the area and to see high quality new developments. I know we have some representatives from those groups here today.  They are helping us to change the perception of … Peckham…

Peckham [is] emerging as [a] go-to cultural destination… There are many opportunities for investment and development in … Peckham.”  

Click here for full speech, and here for the presentation slides.

Building with communities: the case of Peckham (UK)

From Cityness blog –  What Makes the Urban Tick?

Old Waiting Room – restoration.
Picture by Benedict O’Looney

It is an understatement to say that quite a few urban planners and architects would like to keep local communities at bay during the process of developing the urban. Main reasons? Fear of NIMBY-behavior, fear of delays, fear of less-than-progressive ideas about what should be done and, in some cases, fear of people who are not part of the cozy inner-circle of architects, planners and designers. … Sometimes a dialogue of the deaf is the only result. … The Peckham Vision (UK) is an example where things went differently but with favorable results, as even architects in the Architects’ Journal acknowledge. Peckham Vision is a communal gathering in order to generate new ideas about the future of the Peckham town centre and its buildings. Read more at cityness.wordpress.com.

Celebrating the restoration of the Old Waiting Room, Peckham Rye Station

By Roger Williams | In Dulwich on View Photo: Benedict O’Looney

The Old Waiting Room at Peckham Rye Station

The Peckham Society and Southwark Council recently celebrated the beginning of the restoration of the Grand Waiting Room at Peckham Rye Station. Peckham Rye’s handsome Victorian station has been struggling to be seen since buildings were thrown up in the square in front of it in the 1930s. Stand and look at the station now, and you will see two extruding blocks, one on each side of the main entrance. The one on the south side contains a stone and iron spiral staircase, the timbers of its floors rotten, the plaster walls crumbling in chunks, and an arrow pointing upwards, graffitied in black, with the words “To the Billiard Hall”. The billiard hall operated here for 60 years until it closed in 1960, after which all was silence.

On Friday, July 16, after half a century in the dark, the “billiard hall” opened its doors to reveal the station’s Old Waiting Room, a magnificent space with a high vaulted ceiling and four open fire places that stretches the length of the building above the ticket office and is today accessed from Platform 3, on the Victoria line. Read more …

Secret hall beyond Platform 3 holds key to Peckham’s future?

SECRET HALL BEYOND PLATFORM 3 HOLDS KEY TO PECKHAM'S FUTURE?

From Southwark News by Kevin Quinn

A waiting room left hidden on platform three of Rye Lane Station could be the key to unlocking future investment in Peckham.

Like something out of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, this enormous space opened as a waiting room in 1865 and was turned into a billiards hall in 1890 until it closed in 1960.  Forgotten, over the years this space was left to fall into disrepair. It has only recently been opened to the public (albeit briefly), but for those wanting to attract future investment into Peckham town centre the space represents a way forward.

For over a decade the planners and officers at the council’s regeneration department have toyed with a multitude of ideas on how to improve Peckham as commercial hub.

In 2001 radical proposals to transform Peckham into ‘the Notting Hill’ of south London were being considered by Southwark Council’s Peckham Partnership. The head of this regeneration body, Russell Profitt, was looking at recommendations which would mean knocking down huge parts of the high street, pedestrianising large parts of Rye Lane, demolishing the dank and dark buildings around Peckham Rye train station and expanding the Aylesham shopping centre.

Years before in the 1990s, Peckham had undergone a huge regeneration programme, when £64 million (and £150 million in other funding) was given to the area, predominantly to transform housing in the north. As well as removing the notorious estates, some of the legacy from that money was the new Peckham Square and the iconic library within its boundaries.

Last year the council officers were back on the hunt for a way forward, producing a document entitled ‘Future Peckham’ in a bid to garner people’s opinions on what they wanted to see. This hefty 54 page document again suggested a myriad of radical changes in the area, including relocation of the cinema, the creation of three fifteen storey buildings for new homes and once more the redevelopment of the Aylesham centre and Rye Lane to produce a vibrant shopping environment.

But since the initial proposals from Russell Profitt for a ‘Notting Hill’ of the south much has changed on the ground in Peckham. Mr Profitt left the renamed Peckham Programme in 2008 and the subsequent abolition of a town centre management has left a vacuum in the council’s daily coordination on the ground.

In its place is a grassroots group, ‘Peckham Vision’, made up of local stakeholders including residents, community groups and business owners. It is becoming the driving force behind change and importantly they understand that in light of the present economic climate Peckham’s future relies on private investment. Read more…

Student workshop in Old Waiting Room at Peckham Rye Station


Over 40 students from the 2nd year Canterbury School of Architecture came to Peckham on 28th May 2010 to show their designs for the area around the Peckham Rye Station. They met in the Old Waiting Room at the station.

For the last two years the school’s spring term design studio has focussed on Peckham’s town centre, in particular the open spaces in front of and behind the station. Many of the students come from south London.

The event was held at the enormous former waiting room at the Peckham Rye Station, which has been unused for more than forty years. This remarkable, grand, space is one of the highlights of Peckham’s architecture and is being restored by the local architect Benedict O’Looney, with the help of Southwark Council. Benedict is a conservationist active with the Peckham Society and a design and history teacher at the Canterbury School of Architecture.

Southwark Council’s community-oriented ‘Cleaner Greener and Safer’ fund has put forward several grants to unblock the windows and restore the floor to the former waiting room, which was used as a billiard hall from the 1890s to 1960. This room was bricked up and closed off to public use when the station’s southern platforms were rearranged in 1962. The Peckham Rye Station was designed by the eminent Victorian architect Charles Henry Driver in 1865, and this large and lofty waiting room was the building’s principal interior space. The Peckham Society has been campaigning forthe restoration of this prominent local landmark and was successful in getting the station listed grade 2 in 2008. It is hoped that the former waiting room will one soon find a new life as a community meeting space, gallery or cafe. The large student gathering made clear the space’s excellent community potential.

Contact: Benedict O’Looney, architect, teacher, Committee, the Peckham Society 07981 – 785 950
Kristina Kolotov, Second Year Coordinator, Canterbury School of Architecture 07977 – 038 105

Major development Bournemouth Road / Rye Lane corner

Latest news 6th March: Planning permission refused. See decision here. See planning report here. Meeting Thursday 18th March 2pm at CLF Art Cafe, Bussey buildng, 133 Rye Lane, SE15 to seek better planning from the developers and owners of the land on the Copeland Cultural Quarter site (see here for more).

January 2010 – Developers sought permission to demolish what remains of the historic Holdron’s on the corner of Rye Lane / Bournemouth Road. It looks potentially as inappropriate and poor quality in design as the Wandle housing block next door to it. Also its design with cramped flats might exacerbate the social problems already experienced from the Wandle block after only two years. It is not integrated at all in the thinking of the developments that can happen now on all that big site behind, now that the tram depot threat is fully lifted.

For those not up to date on this – TfL consultants finally a year ago reported that that site was completely wrong on all counts for the tram depot and another different and appropriate site was found. This news got completely lost in the news of the tram project itself being suspended. This was a shame as it fully vindicated everything Peckham Vision had said including that it would be bad for the tram itself if the tram depot location plan was not thoroughly re-examined ASAP. Once TfL did review it, they conceded everything Peckham Vision had said about why it was a defective decision.

Historic Bournemouth Rd/Rye Lane corner as it was - these buildings are still intact there January 2010

In spite of the blight caused by the TfL plan to locate the tram depot here, organic developments have continued in the Copeland Industrial Park, resulting in the growth of important cultural and small business enterprises. These have demonstrated the significant potential for this part of Peckham Town centre in the life of the town centre as a whole. In response to the Issues and Options report, Peckham Vision asked that the Preferred Option Plan should include an overall framework plan for the part of site 71P which lies between Copeland Road, Bournemouth Road and Rye Lane, including the applicant’s site which is an integral part of it. We submitted an indication of the outline of such a framework. This indicates that considerable progress has already been made in developing such an approach.

Peckham Vision believes that this needs to be completed as soon as possible to provide the right planning context for a redesigned development on the applicant’s site. We know that two major objectors to the current application – The Peckham Society and Peckham Business Park – both of whom are members of the Peckham Vision Consortium, are very ready to cooperate in the development of such an overall plan with the owners of this applicant site, and in liaison with the Council as appropriate both in terms of meeting the objections to the current application and also contributing to the development of an overall framework plan for site 71P in the PNAAP Preferred Options report.

Peckham Vision has therefore asked the Council to encourage the applicant to withdraw the current application and to work with the other property owners and occupiers on the adjacent sites, and to liaise with the Council on its work on the PNAAP. This would enable a redesigned proposal which meets the Council’s UDP criteria for developments in Peckham and enables this site to fit within the overall plans which are emerging for this important part of the town centre and Rye Lane. See Peckham Vision letter here.  Failing that we have asked the Council to defer consideration of, or refuse permission for, the current application to enable this discussion and collaboration to take place.

See other objection letters here, from The Peckham Society, and the Peckham Business Park.

PLANNING APPLICATION INFORMATION

See all the details on the Council’s website.

All documents can be downloaded and saved. The main ones appear to be:

  • Design and access statement – 1 OF 2  2009-11-25: There are 38 pages of pictures and diagrams of what the buildings will look like as well as details of design and access provisions, and of the site now.
  • Planning statement (1)  2009-11-25: This covers their case for how it meets all the Council’s criteria and requirements. First 21 pages are the key ones.

Old Billiard Room comes back to life!

Daylight now floods, just as it used to, through large Victorian windows into the magnificent huge Old Billiard room above the ticket hall at Peckham Rye station. This is the successful result of collaboration between The Peckham Society, Rye Lane & Station Action Group, Southwark Council, Southern Rail and Network Rail. The Peckham Society have now proposed the next stage – to restore the wooden floor and make the room fit for community and public use again. This is a significant contribution to the transformation of central Rye Lane (see here).                                                 

Read more here and here.