Peckham Town Centre Forum
The Peckham Town Centre Forum emerged in December 2009, from discussions in the Rye Lane & Station Action Group – see below. It was initiated and facilitated by Peckham Vision as an informal gathering of people in different roles, who are keen to improve Peckham Town Centre and have energy and enthusiasm, who get together to share ideas and take actions. Local residents had been coming together with architects, urban designers, business people, artists, gallery owners, creative entrepreneurs and others, with ward councillors, and Council officers from town planning and other departments with roles relating to the town centre. This had enabled a continuing dialogue leading to more informed actions. The actions developed beyond fixed meetings into collaborative working across a network of local interested people. Public meetings were in the CLF Art Cafe in the Bussey building [see picture] in the heart of the Copeland Cultural Quarter where Peckham Vision was born, or in the Old Waiting Room, or in All Saints Church Hall Blenheim Grove.
In 2012 that cooperative working with the Council began to wither as they withdrew into planning the station site into a closed group, and the PNAAP proceeded to a Public Hearing in July 2013. In the meantime, Peckham Vision continued to develop the community networking and information action through community fairs, public meetings, workshops and through the email list, website, Facebook and twitter.
In September 2014, Copeland Park provided a temporary exhibition studio space in the Bussey Building and a small shop unit in Holdron's Arcade for the use of Peckham Vision in recognition of the role the group had played over the previous 9 years in bringing different interests across the town centre together. That has now developed into a small Peckham Vision studio space in the Bussey Building which is used for preparations, meetings, and small workshops. Until the pandemic and lockdowns that started in March 2020, there was a Community Open Studio day every other month or so on publicised dates. The shop was a continuous focal point for information for traders, shoppers, and local people about the town centre - its history, present issues and the future. Occasional pop-up events were held in the shop. During the pandemic we developed a shop exhibition on view all he time through the shop window, and because of social distancing needs have not reopened the studio to public events. Most public meetings have taken place on line except for those arranged through Aylesham Community Action (ACA) and with Peckham Heritage, which have grown out of Peckham Vision's work in the town centre. Peckham Vision is an active founder member of each.
Pictures (copyright)Peckham Vision
Since 2009 there have been many well attended meetings in the CLF Art Cafe in the Bussey Building, and elsewhere. There has also been much discussion via email and at ad hoc meetings and through Peckham Vision stall and mobile exhibition at local community fairs and events. Since 2014, the Peckham Vision shop in Holdron's Arcade at 135A Rye Lane, open every week on Saturdays 2-5pm and Tuesdays 2-4pm has provided a new focal point for the work. It has all confirmed the well of enthusiasm and energy and ideas waiting to be tapped for town centre life. At meetings, Open Space and other participative processes are used to encourage the development of ideas, networking and the nurturing of contacts for self-initiated actions.
Previous meetings and actions:
- 2019 Forum meetings and events
- 2018 Forum meetings and events
- 2017 Forum meetings and events
- 2016 Forum meetings and events
- 2015 Forum meetings and events
- 2014 Forum meetings and events
- August - December 2013 meetings and events
- 23 July - 1 August 2013 Public Hearings
- 26th July 2013 Peckham Vision at the V&A
- 8th July 2013 Town Centre workshop
- May 2013 Public Toilets Petition launched
- 12th November 2012 followed by monthly meetings since
- 2nd to 4th August 2012 Peckham Vision town centre exhibition in Old Waiting Room
Peckham Vision arranged this exhibition about the town centre in the Old Waiting Room in Peckham Rye station as a Peckham Rye Lane contribution to the Cultural Olympiad. This was a culmination of the years of preceding work before and with the Town Centre Forum. There were talks on the opening evening and a non stop stream of visitors each day.The exhibition was possible because of the enthusiasm of a team of local residents volunteering throughout the three days. read moreand more (photo gallery)
So much happened during 2011 after the previous meetings there was no time to write it up in detail for the website. See some of it for Peckham Rye Station here. All those developments were reported at the 14th March 2012 meeting.
- May to September 2011
- 7th April 2011
- 19th February, 17th & 31st March 2011
- 27th & 30th November 2010
- 23rd October 2010
- 13th July 2010
- 22nd April 2010
- 18th March 2010
- 24th February 2010
- 16th December 2009
Emerging themes written in 2010
- improving the public realm now by better joined-up working on Council's town centre responsibilities
- retail security & commercial potential
- creativity, entrepreneurship & commercial regeneration
- local energy and food production
- town centre physical fabric revitalisation, especially restoring and benefiting from the historic buildings
- facilities for young people
- how all these matters relate to health & well being
- linking to New Peckham Experiment, and following up the stimulating seminar held on 22 April 2010
- linking of community initiatives for overall sustainability
These emerge through the meetings and their follow up, and developing the contacts made through the Forum.
Other useful material
- Life today in Peckham
See and hear everday life in the shops and streets in Peckham town centre from local resident and cook Helen Graves' blog.
- "Secret hall beyond Platform 3 holds key to Peckham's future?"
"A waiting room left hidden on platform three of Rye Lane Station could be the key to unlocking future investment in Peckham..." A double page article in Southwark News 9 June 2010, looks at the role of the hidden historic gems in the town centre in attracting new commercial investment. "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. Read the article.
- Preserving Peckham
..."Did you know that some of the houses in Peckham were once 19th century holiday homes for rich merchants? Or that there are buildings in Peckham High Street that date back to the late 16th century?..."
Read SLP 22 June 2010 report on Preserving Peckham - fight to protect Town's historic buildings, page 1, and page 2 here
- Peckham Vision - "an important force for change'
In an article in August 2010, the Architects Journal "...juxtaposes a top-down development in Elephant and Castle with ground-up localism in Peckham". It says: Localism can, and does, improve the quality of the built environment by enabling professional skills and community ideas to coalesce. For example, Peckham Vision, a consortium of residents, artists, businesses and The Peckham Society, campaigns for a renewed Peckham town centre. The consortium is an important force for change... Read More
Peckham Town Centre Forum Origins
The Peckham Town Centre Forum emerged from the October 2009 meeting of the Rye Lane & Station Action Group, in the CLF Art Cafe in the Bussey building [see picture] in the heart of the Copeland Cultural Quarter. As well as an update from Southern Rail on plans for improving the station accessibility, Peckham Vision and the Council Planning Policy officers presented their respective ideas about the town centre and the revitalisation process. In the discussions, there was a lot of energy to find ways for the dialogue on revitalisation to be a continuing one instead of stop and start at occasional meetings. This would enable those, who have enthusiasm and energy, to get together to share ideas and take actions.