Peckham Rye Station Gateway/2011-2013

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Station Gateway consultation 30th November 2013

consultation in the Old Waiting Room

Network Rail's architects held a consultation in the Old Waiting Room on 30 November 11am–3pm. Deadline for comments is 7th December. Some of the points to think about in all this are in the short briefing note we produced for visitors to the consultation. This consultation appears to be testing the public response to the ideas presented by previous architects and adopted by Network Rail as a preferred option. The consultation boards from Saturday’s event in the Old Waiting Room (see photo) are now up on the architects’ blog: Do look at the boards there Perhaps the key one is Board 4 which identifies the significant questions about the architects’ thoughts for redevelopment of the Network Rail site all around the station. These would require as expected the removal of the buildings in front to create the new square. But they also extend to the buildings alongside in Holly Grove and Blenheim Grove and behind the station. These buildings currently accommodate in Holly Grove the newly opened Hannah Barry Gallery, and in Blenheim Grove The Sunday Painter, Peckham Refreshment Rooms, Bar Story, Peckham Springs and the soon to open microbrewery, as well as other small businesses. Do they really need to be demolished when they are regenerating the area themselves in the existing buildings? These and some of the other points to think about in all this are in the short briefing note we produced for visitors to the consultation. A commentary on the issues is provided in the consultation response by Eileen Conn as Peckham Vision coordinator.

The architects will hold another event in January to present their detailed ideas as the basis for the planning application in the Spring. It has been a disappointing wasted opportunity to leave the public engagement so late in the process, and then leave just a week to absorb and comment on the design ideas being used. Aware of the lack of engagement, over the summer we facilitated a public community conversation. But none of us knew then the large scale of development ideas that are being considered.

Peckham & Nunhead Community Council 25th November 2013

The Peckham Community Council meeting focused on the Council's work to regenerate Peckham town centre. It included a report on the Peckham Townscape Heritage (THI) proposals for a £1.6m grant, Rye Lane Conservation Area Peckham Management Plan, and the Peckham Rye Station Gateway project. The architects Weston Williamson, commissioned by Network Rail, explained that they would be developing the planning application for the redevelopment of the station surrounds to submit in Spring 2014, and that they would hold a consultation event on 30 November 2013 with a deadline for comments by 6 December. There would be a further consultation on the planning application proposals in January 2014. There were a number of comments from residents and businesses that the consultation period was unacceptably short at just a week. In addition, the Peckham Planning Network, made up of local people working on planning issues in Peckham, submitted and read out a statement to the Community Council of the poor community engagement process which had wasted time in the lead up to this point as the Council and Network Rail, for more than a year, had refused to engage in any public discussions about the design concept for the proposal.

BBC London TV report on Gateway project 3 November 2013 - “A number of businesses have been told they may have to relocate under a £25m redevelopment plan for Peckham. Plans include transforming Peckham Rye Station and its surrounding area, creating a new square and encouraging cafes, bars and art shops to open. Southwark Council, which is working with the Greater London Authority and Network Rail on the project, says a business support team is in place to help those affected.”

Network Rail’s ‘Preferred Option’

preferred option plan: click plan to enlarge and print

In the brief for the architects seeking tenders for the work, a ‘preferred option’ was included. A map outlining this was produced in 2012 by Landolt & Brown, architects commissioned by Network Rail. It was received by Peckham Vision in October 2013 following a Freedom of Information request in August 2013 for the architects’ brief for the development. The ‘preferred option’ map is shown here: This is now being used as a basis for the concept design being produced by Weston Williamson, the architects commissioned to produce the planning application. Their consultationfrom 30th November to 7th December 2013 used the ‘preferred option’ as a basis for posing questions for comments, especially on board 4 in the display boards. They say they are not bound by the preferred option, but it raises key issues about the scale and extent of the re-development which there has been no time for the public to understand, think about, dicuss and comment. These include the demolition of the buildings hosting the new small creative businesses in Holly Grove and Blenheim Grove.

Deputation 22nd October 2013

There was a deputation to the Southwark Council Cabinet on 22 October 2013 to seek clarity about the plans of Network Rail, the Council and the GLA on the concept design for the station developments. The deputation was led by Bar Story and Sassoon Gallery, with The Sunday Painter and Peckham Vision.** The plans all started years ago with a proposal to recreate the square in front to the station. But documents, produced by the Council and Network Rail over the last year, available through Cabinet papers or FOI requests, indicated what seemed like the clearance and development of the whole of the land and buildings alongside and behind the station. The story up to the developments these last few weeks is recorded below on this web page.

For several months Peckham Vision had been seeking information about the design concept for the developments without success. A Freedom of Information request in early August finally produced some of this information in mid October including the Council agreement with the GLA on the £5m grant towards the station square, and the brief for the architects about to be commissioned to prepare the planning application and to design and conduct public and stakeholder consultations. At the same time Cabinet received a work progress report and update on the issues raised by the deputation and Scrutiny hearing last April and May from Cllr Fiona Colley. These documents seemed to indicate a number of discrepancies in what was being said about the scale of the developments, so Peckham Vision wrote to Cllr Colley seeking clarification; see email exchange.

In parallel some of the businesses on the station site who would be destroyed by the kind of plan in the architects’ brief decided to seek clarification through a deputation to Cabinet on 22 October when they were receiving the report on the development. The deputation’s speech to the Cabinet raised five points for clarification and quoted the Council statements in the past that seemed inconsistent with the current plans, including the intentiomn to build on the success of businesses like Bar Story. We were told by the Cabinet that the intention is to develop a planning application for recreating the square and necessary works directly related to it and that there is no intention to do major redevelopment beyond that.

The planning application is to be submitted next February. The Council said that the consultation leading to its submission will also be able to cover other options as well as the one called the 'preferred option' that the architects bidding for the contract were asked to use as the basis for their bids. We have been told that the preferred option plan is just a technical management device for financial appraisal and achieving authority to go ahead, rather than the basis for the real design of what is going to happen.

The architects will be appointed in the next week and start immediately by 4 November. We are looking forward now to a constructive collaboration with them on devising really interesting and effective ways of involving and informing people in Peckham about the ideas, the practical issues and encouraging many people to take part in the discussions and conversations.

  • While the deputation was in the Council’s meeting rooms waiting their turn to speak, Hannah Jones one of our Peckham networkers was at the entrance to the Council offices in Tooley Street with a solo pop-up performance singing an operatic lament for Peckham facing with uncertainty the impact of these big developments. Let us hope that next time it can be a song of joy.

Report from the summer public conversations October 2013

Over the summer of 2013 Peckham Vision encouraged a public community conversation about the Gateway project through postings on Peckham Vision Facebook, twitter and the email list, and posted some of the results here: Gateway comments. We also took our mobile exhibition to several community events and talked to hundreds of local people about the plans for the town centre especially the developments in central Rye Lane around the station. We invited people to put up their comments about the station Gateway developments on post it notes and in comment books. About 120 comments have been transcribed and are recorded here: 2013 PV summer events - PRS Gateway comments.pdf The comments covered small details through to generalisations and are not amenable to simple summary. They are similar to those posted on the social media sites. There is wide support for the re-creation of the square. There is a feeling that there is a special nature to Peckham town centre which needs to be nurtured and protected while it is adjusting to changes in the wider economy and to the developments around the station. Small organic change favouring small independents rather than national chains is preferred rather than large developments at once. There was concern at the potential loss of independent small businesses, including creative enterprises, if rents became unaffordable. A variety and mix of retail shops is wanted rather than more of the same kinds of shops which is viewed as an unwelcome current feature, with the multiple hair, nail, meat and phone shops. More business responsibility is wanted for the effects of their businesses. The storage facilities of the arches behind the station are valued by town centre businesses. Some locals value the mix of light industry and commerce behind the station, and are concerned at the loss of residential amenity with the expansion of the night economy. There were pleas for newsagent, letter box, coffee shop and public toilets near the station.

Public conversation about the design of the station developments

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The Council did not release any information about the conceptual discussions, and so Peckham Vision has encouraged a public conversation about these aspects:

  • Front of station: A new square is being created in front of the station. What kind of square? What would you like to see there..?
  • Back of station: The plan is to create a new area at the back, linked to the new front square. What would you like to see there..?
  • Blenheim Grove: What would you like to see happen in the arches with fronts on Blenheim Grove..?

These different areas of the station development site are explained below with a map

Please post your comments on Facebook page Peckham Rye Station or email

Comments are posted up here.

30th September 2013 - Public Toilets petition - Peckham & Nunhead Community Council

Peckham Vision and the Rye Lane & Traders’ Association joined together to present a petition with 4,273 signatures to the Peckham & Nunhead Community Council on 30 September. They said that Peckham is a busy major shopping centre in Southwark thronging with shoppers and visitors. Unfortunately public urinating has become a very unpleasant feature of our town centre, because of the lack of public toilets. Local residents have for many years campaigned for public toilets. Now it is even more urgent as cultural life in central Rye Lane has taken off. There are many more pedestrians at all times, and it has extended the problems through the evening and into the night.. There are increasing problems day and night with urinating and worse in the shopping and residential streets as a result of the lack of decent public toilets. Central Rye Lane is due for a major reshaping to recreate the public square in front of the station and make major improvements in Network Rail’s land around it. The petition asked the Council and Network Rail to take this opportunity to provide for public toilets in these developments. This is maybe a once in a lifetime chance to ensure that these changes include good quality public toilets that are well managed. The Community Council agreed that there were problems through the lack of public toilets, and that their provision should be considered in the developments in the station area.public toilets Council response

7th September 2013 - Peckham Rye Fete

Peckham Vision's mobile exhibition returned for another year to this popular summer fete, where more discussions about the town centre and station developments were had.

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Station restoration latest August 2013

The Council is developing plans for the design and development of the new front square and new commercial spaces at the back of the station. There is not yet satisfactory information about how the public can contribute to these ideas. The Council say they can release no information about the conceptual discussions between the Council and Network Rail. Their current plans are to submit the detailed planning appication by December 2013. This would pre-empt some issues, and give only the usual limited few weeks for consideration and none for conceptual and design discussions. The Council are not clear yet if they can secure agreement with the GLA to give more time for this. The need for a community public conversation now therefore continues.

24th August 2013 - Hush House Supermarket at the Bussey building

Peckham Vision's exhibition was a feature in the new Hush House Supermarket, which was visited by hundreds of people. There were many discussions about the town centre and the station developments.

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Arches Open Studios 28-30 June 2013

Peckham Vision's mobile exhibition was there all weekend at The Arches open studios. We leafleted all residents and businesses in Blenheim Grove in advance. Several visited the stall over the weekend, and learnt the latest information about the station area development, and discussed the issues in Blenheim Grove for residents and for businesses.

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Revised map of properties in the station plans June 2013

The map attached to the Council June report (see previous news it) gives further details of the position relating to the possible plans for properties adjacent to the new square and to the station building. This latest news is reflected in this revised Peckham Vision map

Appendix 1 Gateway to Peckham Map - A3 coloured v.08.jpg

. The colours refer to:

  • Station Arcade (deep blue), and the buildings (paler blue) on the other sides of the rail lines there.
  • Holly Grove & Blenheim Grove (pink): the buildings fronting these two streets & fronting the station forecourts under the rail-tracks adjacent to either side of the station building.
  • Rear of the station (green): the rail arches, their forecourts and access road from Blenheim Grove.
  • The Arches (yellow): the rail arches beyond the potential rear market with separate access from Blenheim Grove.

The agreed plan is to remove the buildings in Station Arcade (deep blue) to recreate the public square, and to create a path from front to rear of the station at ground floor level within the station building to connect the new front square and a possible new rear market. The buildings (in paler blue) may need to be removed because of the way they are connected through the arches to the Arcade. The buildings in pink are less likely to be affected. The paler green shade indicates the arches with forecourts on Blenheim Grove; and the darker green those arches between the railway lines. There is no information about the plans for any of these arches behind the station. The Council and Network Rail say they will consult the public on the plans for the whole site in 2014. Because there are no Council plans to enable public discussion about design ideas of all this before that stage, Peckham Vision is continuing with the public conversation about the possibilities. The information was displayed by Peckham Vision at the weekend Open Studios in The Arches over the weekend of 28 – 30 June [see photos above]. We leafleted all residents and businesses in Blenheim Grove in advance, and several visited the stall over the weekend.

Revised Council position on station plans June 2013 & Scrutiny meeting 20 May 2013

Following the deputation the Cabinet decision was ‘called in’ by the Overview Scrutiny Committee see pages 2-7 of meeting verbatim report. As a result of that a further report and map was made to the Cabinet by Cllr Fiona Colley. This is an extract: “This report follows up a number of issues raised regarding our Gateway to Peckham cabinet decision in April. Unfortunately the original recommendations of that report indicated that the council intended to buy out all interests across a far larger area than we in fact intended. Although this was clarified at the meeting and the recommendations amended, some confusion remained and the report was called in to scrutiny.
I'd like to thank Overview and Scrutiny Committee for their decision not to refer back the decision to cabinet and for their constructive recommendations. We are through this report taking the opportunity to clarify the extent of the area in which the acquisition of all interests is required. We also recommend agreeing the other two recommendations and that cabinet should receive a further report and recommendations when investigations of models of partnership arrangements is complete.
Since the last report I have taken the opportunity to visit a number of the cultural businesses who were concerned about their future. I hope I have provided them with a level of reassurance that far from wishing to evict them from the area, that the Gateway to Peckham project is an opportunity to build on the best that Peckham already has to offer and create an arts, culture and leisure hub that will create jobs and business opportunities and be an exciting new destination in London.”

Opening the discussion about the possible changes on the site April 2013

Appendix 1 Gateway to Peckham Map - A3 coloured v.06.jpg

We have produced, as a discussion aid, this illustrated map of the station. It is based on the map in the Cabinet report. The colours are broad brush indications of different parts of the site and not precise boundaries. They show how the different parts might relate to the regeneration ideas, so it can help us all to know what we are referring to in discussion. The colours refer to

  • Station Arcade (blue): the buildings between the rail lines in front of the station building.
  • Holly Grove & Blenheim Grove (pink): the buildings fronting these two streets & fronting the station forecourts under the rail-tracks adjacent to either side of the station building.
  • Potential rear market (green): the rail arches, their forecourts and access road from Blenheim Grove.
  • The Arches (yellow): the rail arches beyond the potential rear market with separate access from Blenheim Grove.

The agreed plan is to remove the buildings in Station Arcade to recreate the public square, and to create a path from front to rear of the station at ground floor level within the station building to connect the new front square and a new rear market. There is no information on ideas or plans for other buildings or parts of the site. We had understood that there would be public consultation and discussion about the design of all this before decisions on design and final plans are made. But the process is currently not known.
In the meantime lots of people want to know more and discuss different aspects of it so we hope that the map we have produced will be useful for that, and for clarifying what the range of possibilities may be. We will be glad to respond to any queries to help the discussion along.

PV Deputation to Cabinet to stop wholesale clearance of businesses on station site 16 April 2013

We had a shock in discovering a Council report for 16 April 2013 which seemed to recommend a total clear out of the businesses on Network Rail land around Peckham Rye station between Rye Lane and Bellenden Rd. See the report and map It had been expected that some businesses would be displaced by the plans to recreate the station square and reclassify the industrial land behind the station for town centre commercial use, and that for the rest there would be an organic process of change. No one expected that everything would be swept away to create a sterile place which would have to start all over again.

The Peckham Graces
The Peckham Graces

Peckham Vision took a deputation to the Council Cabinet meeting on 16 April at Council HQ 160 Tooley St, for clarification, and if it was a plan for wholesale clear out to seek a postponement for urgent discussions about a different approach. The room was packed with supporters from Peckham. It was nerve wracking but we won! The report had said the Council was working to secure 'vacant possession' across the whole site. After our reprsentations, the top councillors said they had no intention of clearing the whole site and going for ‘vacant possession’ of it all. They said the report was not well drafted. Council had wanted the blanket authority to do what they wanted. They didn’t get it. The community was united to protect the key local enterprises of the future. So it was a great result, with a united community, and the drastic plan appeared dead. Our vision of an integrated sustainable Peckham is still alive. But there is much hard work still ahead to keep watch and to nurture our Peckham.

While the deputation was presenting its case to the Cabinet meeting, young artists supporters from Peckham created a pop-up art performance in the lobby of Southwark Council. This was a tasteful inspiring illustration of the free independent spirit of the creative economy in Peckham which needs gentle nurturing and not a heavy handed regeneration site clearance.

See media reports:

Southwark News 25 April 2013
South London Press 23rd April 2013
ARTWEEKLY website post


see here for entries for 2012


Original station square to be restored November 2011

On 23rd November 2011, the London Mayor announced that Peckham would receive between £4m-£5m from the Mayor’s £70m Regeneration Fund, which was set up to help repair the damage caused by the August 2011 riots. Southwark Council has said it will match fund the project to restore the open square in front of the station, and transform the spaces around the station in the middle of the town centre. Read more comment and Evening Standard The proposal for this project was able to be put together by the Council to meet the GLA's very fast timetable immediately after the riots because of all the work that had already been done by Peckham Vision, the Peckham Society and the Rye Lane & Station Action Group in collaboration with the Council over several years. The Southwark News reported it as recreating the 'Grand entrance’ for the Victorian station. Read the article here. The Council are now working on the details of the plans, and discussing with Peckham Vision the way the community work on the station and surrounding area can be aligned with those.

Gateway project key documents:

- Peckham Vision comments on issues raised by the Gateway project

In the absence of any information about the design concepts, Peckham Vision presented the Council with a paper in July 2013 commenting on some of the issues which needed to be addressed:

Key information was still not forthcoming so a Freedom of Information request was made in August 2013. A further paper was presented to the Council in November 2013 with further questions and comments as a result of that information which was received finally in October 2013(see next paragraph):

  • PV briefing note on points to think about in the consultation on initial thoughts about the development.

- Main official documents for the design of the Gateway project

These documents were received in October & November 2013 as a result of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests in August 2013:

  • Agreement between Council and GLA (not provided in digital form)

[to be uploaded]

(received Oct 2013, scanned by Peckham Vision from a hard copy)