Peckham Town Centre
- 1 Introduction
- 2 The Council's Plans
- 3 Peckham Town Centre Forum
- 4 Rye Lane Central
- 5 Town Centre North
- 6 Town Centre South
- 7 Town Centre Conservation Area
- 8 Vibrant Artists' Communities
- 9 Development Projects
- 10 Working to improve Peckham Town Centre
This page focuses on Peckham Town Centre, which is the commercial heart of Peckham and adjacent areas. This is primarily composed of three main streets - Rye Lane, Peckham High Street and Peckham Hill Street - and a few adjacent areas. The main streets are lined with retail shops and a variety of businesses: see the red-lined streets on the map; click to enlarge. Many people live in the town centre above and among the businesses, and the commercial premises back mostly directly onto the residential areas. The town centre is therefore integrated tightly with the residential area, and its impact also spreads widely throughout a wider geographical area because of its physical, social and economic effects. So some of the material on these pages also extends more widely. Further information about the issues and vision for the town centre was displayed in Peckham Vision's exhibtion in the Old Waiting Room in August 2012: see the displays.
The Council's Plans
The Council have been developing their planning policies for Peckham town centre. The Unitary Development Plan (UDP), called the Southwark Plan,for the borough's land use was finalised in 2007. This included a statement about Peckham town centre: see Southwark Plan Part 2 pages 81-82. The UDP is being replaced by the Development Framework, including the Core Strategy which was finalised in 2011. See pages 49-50 here for the text for Peckham in the Core Strategy. See here for previous Peckham Vision web material on the Council's Plans. See here for the latest Council statement about Peckham town centre's potential. The last stage for Peckham is the finalisation of the PNAAP (the Peckham & Nunhead Area Action Plan). A series of local events (see here) were arranged in the first few months of 2011, with the Council, arising from discussions in the Peckham Town Centre Forum, which contributed to the further development of the PNAAP. The Council consulted on various aspects of this (to 30th September 2011). This was followed in February-April 2012 by a further consultation on the 'Preferred Options' report. In Autumn 2012 September to 4 December there was a consultation on the final Council formal planning policy statement (the submission version). The Examination in Public (EIP) Hearings were held 23 July to 1st August 2013, in Council offices in Tooley Street. Further details of the daily programme of topics are here. These were important discussions open to the public. 15 residents took part as they had submitted written objections last December 2012. The Inspector has asked for further public consultations on a number of potential changes to the PNAAP. see here for an account of the Hearings & follow up. Here is a summary of some of Peckham Vision work in facilitiating residents and business engagement in the Planning process.
Peckham Town Centre Forum
The Peckham Town Centre Forum emerged from the collaborative work of local community groups Peckham Vision, Rye Lane & Station Action Group, The Peckham Society and the Bellenden Residents' Group, to encourage the revitalisation of the town centre. It is open to all who are enthusiastic and with ideas and energy for revitalising Peckham town centre. The aim is to nurture a growing network of individuals who can contribute ideas and action to imaginative new initiatives. Read more....
Rye Lane Central
See slide show on Rye Lane Central.
For a long time Council policies assumed that the town centre could be only a long narrow linear shopping street, with relatively isolated opportunity/development sites. Peckham Vision promoted the idea of viewing it instead as an integrated matrix with old and new buildings interlinked with a network of open pedestrian spaces and pathways. The core of this is the area in the central part of Rye Lane between Elm Grove and Bournemouth Road, with Peckham Rye station and the emerging Copeland Cultural Quarter (CCQ) at its heart. See map. For previous Peckham Vision web material on Rye Lane Central see: An Alternative Vision for Rye Lane Central and Transforming Central Rye Lane
Peckham Rye Station
Peckham Rye station began operating in 1865. The building was Grade 2 listed in early 2008 by English Heritage after years of campaigning by the Peckham Society. The station was built with an open square in front: see picture. The original building remains but the square in front was filled in with commercial buildings in the 1930s. The Council agreed in 2008 to the longer term policy eventually to have the buildings in the square removed, and the square reopened as an open space in this central part of the town centre. This is part of the integrated plan produced by Peckham Vision for Rye Lane Central. News Flash Jan 2012: £10m just agreed from the Council and the London Mayor to implement this transformation in the next few years.
In the short term, Peckham Vision with the Peckham Society and the Rye Lane & Station Action Group, and with support from the Council, are working together on a step by step process to bring the historic original waiting room above the ticket hall back into use, and to get the exterior buildings and forecourt cleaned up. This includes developing proposals for a lift to make the Old Waiting Room (and Platform 3) fully accessible. Read more: Peckham Rye Station
The Copeland Cultural Quarter
The Copeland Cultural Quarter (CCQ) is the area next to the railway line between Rye Lane, Bournemouth Road and Copeland Road. For several years it was blighted by the TfL and Council plan to demolish it, and more, for a tram depot. Peckham Vision was born here when the campaign against this plan took shape in 2005-2006. Finally in October 2008, following the campaign, TfL's own consultants reported that it was the wrong site for the tram depot and the threat was lifted. For years it has been evolving into a thriving mixed area of artists' studios, art galleries, a variety of small businesses, retail and creative industry, housing and other community uses. The campaign named this area an emerging Cultural Quarter. This is being realised with the CLF Art Cafe now established in the Bussey building, and several years of the Hannah Barry Gallery, and the Son Gallery, on site, and an increasing demand from creative and cultural enterprises. A major part of the land is owned and operated by Copeland Park (CP), and so the area and its immediate surrounds has become known as the Copeland Cultural Quarter (CCQ). Read more...
This building is a magnificent early 20th century industrial warehouse, brick-clad with most of its decorative features on the side facing the railway tracks, on the south side of the railway line. It originally acted as advertising for Bussey and Co, the well-known sporting goods manufacturers. George Bussey was an eminent Victorian industrialist and entrepreneur. The factory made cricket bats from its own willow farm in Suffolk. There are magnificent views of central London from the three roofs. The factory was, when it was built, one of Peckham’s tallest buildings. Offically known as CIP House, in the Copeland Industrial Park, it is a significant part of the emerging Copeland Cultural Quarter. Referred to as the Bussey building by Peckham Vision from the early days, that has now become the name it is known by. It has an external run down appearance but has always been well used and is thriving with cultural enterprises, small businesses and community uses. It is the last really big late 19th/early 20th century industrial building in Peckham of which there were once quite a few. It is a very solid well made building capable of a long life with modern rehabilitation, as part of a creative development of the overall site. Read more... and more...
Multi-Storey Car Park
Along the north side of the railway line, right opposite the Bussey building, is the 10 floor multi-storey car park. It was built in c1983 after years of opposition from local residents in Moncrieff St whose houses were later demolished to make way for it, and from the Peckham Action Group (PAG) which campaigned from 1978-1982 against the destruction of Peckham High St for a huge town hall and four lane highway through the town centre. The campaign called the plan for the car park a 'white elephant', and so it proved unfortunately. For many years most of its floors have remained empty. But from June to September in 2008, the Hannah Barry Gallery (based in the emerging Copeland Quarter next to the Bussey building) created an outdoor sculpture exhibition Bold Tendencies on the top floor. The next year 2009 they took over the top three floors and on the top floor encouraged the installation of the tailor-made Frank's Cafe for visitors to the Gallery. Its fame spread far and wide. During its opening few days in July 2010, about 4000 visitors flocked to enjoy the exhibition, the experience, the food and the views. The same happened in 2011 and in 2012, and with more activities added to the whole event. The Council's PNAAP proposals are for redevelopment of the site (including the cinema housed in the front of the building). However, the successful temporary recycling of the upper third of the car park has prompted moves to explore a permanent recycling into a commercial cultural centre. New page being created - http://www.peckhamvision.org/wiki/Multi-Storey_Car_Park
Town Centre North
Peckham High Street's intersection with Rye Lane and Peckham Hill Street, and south to Hanover Park and Highshore Road, form the focal point of the northern hub of the town centre -see map. The High Street is the original Peckham settlement and there are some 17th and early 18th century reminders of the old village alongside later Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian and 20th century retail development.
Council policies for many years tried to focus town centre commercial and community activity in this northen end of the town centre, with major public investment in a new Town Square which is bounded by two very large late 20th century buildings the Healthy Living Centre Peckham Pulse and the award winning Peckham Library and in 2010 the new Peckham Space a purpose built art exhibition gallery in the town square. There are major parts of the surrounding land on both north and south of the High Street which are designated as development sites. The challenge for the next stage of the PNAAP (the Peckham & Nunhead Area Action Plan) process is to produce an overall plan which remedies the major defects in the overall idea of this whole northern sector of the town from an urban design perspective.
Town Centre South
South of Bournemouth Road, small shops line both sides of Rye Lane as it winds its way to Peckham Rye village and the beginning of Peckham Rye Common. On the left are two small semi squares - Parkstone Road and Atwell Road - and on the right Choumert Road street market. The public realm - the street, the pavements and fronts of buildings and shops - are much neglected by the Council and the property owners. More joined-up working by all concerned could easily make a big improvement here for the benefit of shoppers and small businesses. In 2012 the traders in this part of the town took the initiative to start up a Traders' Association for the town centre. Peckham Vision is working closely with them on this important step towards more collaborative working between the businesses and with residents and others in the community.
Town Centre Conservation Area
The Peckham Society campaigned since 2004 for a Central Peckham Conservation area to recognize the historic interest and antiquity of Peckham town centre. In 2009, this was strongly supported by English Heritage's Historic Area Assessment of Central Peckham. This is strong evidence that there is a range of noteworthy buildings in the centre of Peckham that point to the neighbourhood's distinctive history of over 300 years. Rather than get in the way of the important opportunities for large-scale redevelopment in Peckham town centre, the designation of a conservation area would, we said as shown in Bermondsey and Borough, help refine and improve development proposals. It would set a high standard for new buildings, and help potential developers understand the historic context of their proposals. The designation of a Conservation Area will release government money to improve historic buildings and streetscape, and help young people and old, Londoners, and new immigrants, to see and understand their neighbourhood's long and varied history. The Council in October 2011 finally designated all of the town centre as the Rye Lane Conservation Area - see the appraisal report, and designation decision, and the Heritage Lottery Fund in May 2012 approved a first round proposal for a Townscape Heritage Initiative £1.7m grant.
Vibrant Artists' Communities
In Rye Lane Central for many years there have been artists' studios:
There are over 60 artists who have their studios in the Bussey building, and numbers continue to increase. They create a context from which cultural events are created and can naturally evolve, such as the series of art exhibitions over the last five years.
Other creative enterprises now in the Copeland Cultural Quarter include:
See also TheBusseyBuilding.com for the growing directory of users of the Bussey building and adjoining Copeland site.
Across Peckham and Nunhead there is a significant number of other creative enterprises:
- Peckham Town Square: A major cultural space is Peckham Space in the Town Square launched in June 2010.
- A major cultural space recently closed for demolition was Area 10 in the former Whittens' warehouse behind Peckham Library and Peckham Hill Street.
- Peckham Road: New Gallery linked to the Sassoon Gallery
- Bellenden: John Latham's Flat Time House; Artists in the Bellenden Renewal Scheme; Arcadia Missa between Bellenden Rd & Lyndhurst Way; Nutbrook Studios, 33 Nutbrook St.
- Nunhead also has its wide variety of creative initiatives: Nunhead Arts
- Asylum Road in East Peckham: Asylum arts space in the historic Caroline Gardens Chapel.
Southwark Arts Forum in 2009 relaunched the SE15 Creative Network to help encourage links in this work. This currently is dormant.
- local Peckham people buying art collectively BBC TV report - The Culture Show
See here for a table of development projects.
Working to improve Peckham Town Centre
Working together for Peckham town centre
Community Groups with a focus on the town centre
- Bellenden Residents’ Group (BRG)
- Peckham Residents Network
- Peckham Vision
- Rye Lane and Station Action Group RLSAG
- Southwark Rail Users’ Group (SRUG)
Other local organisations with an active interest in the town centre
- Hannah Barry Gallery
- Peckham Power
- Son Gallery
- Southwark Arts Forum SE15 Creative Network
- Southwark Circle
National organisations with an active interest in Peckham town centre