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Peckham Rye Station square

A new vision for Peckham Rye station: the plan would involve removing the buildings in front of the station and replacing them with a public square and improved facilities for local businesses.

Striking new images of plans to create a modern public realm in the heart of Peckham town centre were presented in 2007 to the Nunhead & Peckham Rye Community Council. For the powerpoint presentation see here and a summary here.

Valerie Shawcross, Southwark/Lambeth elected representative on the Greater London Assembly (GLA), made a strong case for dramatically improving the area around Peckham Rye Station. The image above shows something of what this vision could look like, with an open piazza surrounded by shops to replace the shabby buildings which currently occupy the site. Central to this work would be the restoration of the outstanding 1860s station building to its former glory, as well as transforming the first floor room into a community use. The proposal would also help reduce crime and serve to boost local usage of the area. More...


Radio broadcast from the Bussey Building


Saturday 19th July 2008 saw the first ever South City Radio broadcast from the Bussey Building. The broadcast programme, with a panel and a participating public audience had a lively debate on Peckham’s contribution to London’s cultural life, and the natural organic growth of the cultural life in that part of the town centre in and around the Bussey building. The event took place on the third floor in the international exhibition featuring potential alternative architectural visions of ‘Future Peckham’, in particular for the central Rye Lane area of Peckham town centre. Read more...

Highlights of the broadcast were available to in the South City Radio programme Primer Public Forum: The Future for Peckham.


The Case for a Town Centre Conservation Area

Historic Peckham town-scape.jpg

Peckham has a long history. In 1700 it was a rural village of just 600 people, centred on the junctions of the High Street, Hill Street, and Rye Lane. Today many of the early buildings of Peckham survive. On the High Street there are some 17th and early 18th century reminders of the old village alongside later Georgian development. A conservation area for central Peckham would enable the various buildings of interest to be protected from demolition. Other benefits include the ability for the Council and local people to improve the quality of new developments. The Peckham Society welcomes new development and supports challenging contemporary design like the Peckham Library. The campaign for a conservation area focuses on raising the profile and quality of both historic and contemporary architecture not simply the preservation of historic townscape.Read more...


Development sites in the Town Centre

Peckham Area Action Plan and Opportunity sites.

The Council's draft PNAAP covers the whole of the areas of the Nunhead & Peckham Rye Community Council and the Peckham Community Council. This includes at its heart Peckham town centre, and the shopping area along Queens Road. See the outline of this core on the PNAAP map. This map identifies what the Council calls ‘Opportunity sites’ and also called 'Development sites’, three of which were identified in the UDP -

  • Peckham Rye station, off Rye Lane to the west;
  • the multi-storey car park and cinema, off Rye Lane to the east, behind Woolworths
  • Peckham Square, Peckham Pulse, and Peckham Wharf, near the High Street. Read more...


Transforming Central Rye Lane
Bussey Building courtyard.jpg

The land and buildings between Rye Lane and Copeland Road are a thriving mixed area of artists' studios, art galleries, a variety of small businesses, retail and creative industry, housing, faith and other community uses. The area has the feel of an emerging Cultural Quarter. A major part of the land (including the Bussey building) is owned and operated by Copeland Industrial Park (CIP), and so the area and its immediate surrounds is becoming known as the Copeland Cultural Quarter (CCQ).

The draft Masterplan, see here, shows the location and extent of the Copeland Cultural Quarter and indicates the kind of mixed organic development there could be on this site:

  • the gradual rehabilitation of the historic buildings integrated with new buildings, More...


Open Spaces – central Rye Lane east

Rye Lane Central development/opportunity sites. Click map for larger version.

Across the road from the staion, on the east side of Rye Lane, are three sites, with the same potential as the station square, to transform the central part of Rye Lane:

  • the multi-storey car park area,
  • site 63P/71P ‘safeguarded’ for the tram depot,
  • and the area between the railway lines.

The links that these three sites already have with Rye Lane, and with each other, could also be opened up in imaginative developments to create a new cultural quarter in this central part of Rye Lane.Read More...


Why the Copeland Industrial Park was always the wrong site for the tram depot

Panoramic view of the Bussey Building. George Bussey was a leading 19th British manufacturer who produced sporting goods on this site. (Photo by Adam Khan)

Peckham Vision held an information day on Saturday 20th January 2007 to give all Southwark’s Councillors the opportunity to get to know the then proposed tram depot site in Peckham, its current users and understand its future potential. One of the Councillors said they had been persuaded by the plan to build a depot on site because some years back officers told them it would regenerate Peckham by having housing and commerce on top of the depot. In fact, property experts said then that would be too expensive and the current plans did not include this. The original reasons for Peckham being selected as a preferred depot location no longer stood up, and needed to be looked at again. Read more...


Peckham Vision's alternative ideas helped create the Contingency Plan

The CLF Weekender attracted many people to the Chronic Love Foundation Art Cafe, and the roof was opened up, allowing people views across London.

The plan to safeguard site 63P/71P for the tram depot caused blight and degeneration for 5 years, and this would have continued for the 10 years or more before it was completed. In addition the tram depot, which would be a high security site for 24 hours a day, would if built:

  • close off and sterilise a very large area of the town centre, and could hardly help in its regeneration;
  • lose the opportunity that this huge site presents for providing a wide variety of spaces for the continuing developments in creative industries, small businesses, and community uses, which are now occurring in central Peckham. Read more...

Peckham Vision argued that the Council needed to have a Contingency Plan for the site. Read more...


A Tram Depot is a desolate place

View looking across the depot ‘stabling yard’, where 24 trams are currently stored. Is this a positive outlook for the future of Peckham town centre?

In April 2007, Peckham Vision took Peckham residents for a ride on Croydon’s tram before visiting the tram depot.

The journey through Croydon by tram was as smooth and pleasant as I would have expected from such a modern form of transport. The service was prompt, quiet, clean and green. But as we arrived at the depot itself, I have to say my heart sank. This desolate place was a kind of ‘industrial suburbia’, clinging to the edge of the city and surrounded by large warehouses and car showrooms.

Security was tight, and a galvanised steel fence shut the site off to the passing public. As we entered through a small gate the vast maintenance shed loomed ahead. At 100 metres long, a street of two storey houses could fit under its huge roof. Read More..


Reusing historic industrial and commercial buildings in Peckham Central in modern developments

Inside the Bussey building.

On the weekend of 15th and 16th September 2007, as part of the annual all London Open House weekend, Peckham Vision arranged three walks to show the immense scope and opportunities there are for reusing the historic industrial and commercial buildings in Peckham Central in modern developments for creative 21st century uses. The sun shone and over 140 people flocked to take the walks led by The Peckham Society. Everyone enjoyed the magnificent views of Peckham and central London from the roof of the Bussey building. They enjoyed the refreshments in the CLF Arts Café and the Peckham Vision exhibition of the latest information about the tram & tram depot plans, and the ideas for that central area of Peckham town centre if the tram depot is not located there. There was much demand for more tours. More...


The Vision for the Copeland Cultural Quarter

CCQ masterplan

Site 63P/71P, was designated in the UDP to be demolished for a possible tram depot. This 5 years of oppressive blight is likely to be lifted in the Peckham & Nunhead Area Action Plan (PNAAP) being developed which will replace the UDP. Half of this site, the part between Rye Lane and Copeland Road, is already a thriving mixed area of artists' studios, art galleries, a variety of small businesses, retail and creative industry, housing and other community uses, and has the emerging feel of a Cultural Quarter. A major part of the land is owned and operated by Copeland Industrial Park (CIP), and so the area and its immediate surrounds is becoming known as the Copeland Cultural Quarter (CCQ). The draft masterplan here illustrates the concept of a mixed organic development with the gradual rehabilitation of historic buildings ... Read more...


An alternative vision for Rye Lane Central

A new vision for Peckham Rye station: the plan would involve removing the buildings in front of the station and replacing them with a public square and improved facilities for local businesses.

The Council’s plans for the town centre assumed, until recently, that it could be only a long narrow linear shopping street, with relatively isolated opportunity/development sites. But they finally saw the potential for viewing it in a very different way as an integrated mix of old and new buildings interlinked with open pedestrian spaces. The recent agreement between key stakeholders to examine the feasibility of opening up the square in front of Peckham Rye Station is evidence of this. It would create an open public space in the central part of Rye Lane, changing radically the nature of the town centre space there. Instead of a long narrow crowded shopping space, the area would be transformed into one of open spaces linked to other parts of the town centre currently hidden from view on the west side of Rye Lane. They also see now that the same approach can be taken to the other, east, side of Rye Lane. Read more...


Bussey Building courtyard.jpg
The Emerging Copeland Cultural Quarter

"... The Bussey building is still buzzing with lively commercial activity, as part of Copeland Industrial Park. This is tucked away behind Bournemouth Road and Rye Lane, and hosts many small businesses, including some 100 artists, several faith groups, and arts, music and exhibition spaces. These contribute to the emerging Copeland Cultural Quarter. It is a strategic site in the heart of the town centre, and could have a significant future. The historic buildings could be integrated in new developments, for modern businesses and social uses. This, together with opening up the site, by creating small squares, courtyards and passage ways, would include the Quarter in the town centre. A range of ideas about how this might be done has been developed ... " Read more... (image file, PDF file)


Secret hall beyond Platform 3...

2010.05.27 students billiard hall P1070747.jpg

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…


Peckham Rye station

The station as it was c. 1880.

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’s agreed policy is in the longer term 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.

In the short term, the Peckham Society and the Rye Lane and Station Action Group (RLSAG) 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. Southern Rail who manage the station, and Network Rail who own it, are working together to produce plans to restructure the interior of the station to install lifts and make it more accessible.

Read more:


Old Waiting Room

The Old Waiting Room restored

The huge magnificent empty space above the ticket hall began to come to light again during the recent years through campaigns by the Peckham Society, Rye Lane & Station Action Group and Peckham Vision. It was referred to as the Old Billiard Hall as it had been used for many decades by the railway staff as a recreation room. But it was closed and the windows bricked up over 40 years ago and it remained a secret silent place inhabited mainly by pigeons. It was originally the Waiting Room for platforms 2 and 3, so it is also referred to as the Old Waiting Room. Over the last few years, it has been revived and opened to view again. This work has been inspired and led by Benedict O’Looney, local architect and historian, from the Peckham Society, with support from Community Council CGS funds.

First the windows were unbricked and revealed original Victorian paint! The latest work has reached another important stage with the original wooden floor and the electrics now repaired. This was celebrated in the Old Waiting Room with many of those, who had helped and supported in some way, present on 16th July 2010. Read more:


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