Peckham Vision is a resident-led local community consortium of individuals who live, work or run a business in Peckham. Its vision is to support Peckham town centre as a thriving and sustainable social and commercial centre, and to contribute to Peckham being a good place for all in which to live, work and visit. The objects of the Group are to:
- Promote and encourage citizen action to help Peckham town centre to become an integrated and resilient place and links past, present and future for the benefit of all who live and work there.
- Create and nurture ways of connecting people in Peckham who share enthusiasm and desire to help develop and realise the potential of Peckham, and to make the lessons available beyond Peckham.
An integrated town centre
Since 2005 we have encouraged informed discussion about the development plans for Peckham Town Centre, and stimulated a variety of ideas for transforming the central area of Rye Lane around Peckham Rye station, Copeland Cultural Quarter, and the Bussey building. Some material from this work since 2006 is on this website; see especially Transforming Central Rye Lane and An alternative vision for Rye Lane Central.
We have taken a lead to demonstrate the role of historical buildings restoration from an integrated view of Peckham town centre:
- promoted the idea of recreating the public square in front of Peckham Rye station, to transform the pedestrian experience in that central part of Rye Lane. This is now a key part of the Council’s Gateway to Peckham project to realise the potential of Peckham Rye station, and its location.
- led the way in developing the vision and its implementation to restore the station Old Waiting Room, and the Victorian staircase as a town centre function space, run as a community enterprise.
- made the proposal to the Heritage Lottery Fund which resulted in a successful Council application for a Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) to restore selected historic buildings in the town centre.
We work with and link people and enterprises from the parallel local economies of local independent traders, creative enterprises, main stream retailers, the historic restoration work and the faith and religious world. The early years of this work stimulated the emergence of a Peckham Town Centre Forum which first met in December 2009. It has facilitated many events and interactions since then.
Pioneering new approaches to citizen engagement
Underpinning the historic restoration work is Peckham Vision’s understanding of the significant role that learning about our local history and heritage at all educational ages has, and how it connects with wider issues and aspects of town centre life.
Peckham Vision is committed to developing good quality information to distribute in a variety of ways to local people, and to create innovative ways for them to become engaged in the work. There are:
- Peckham Vision shop in Holdron's Arcade, 135a Rye Lane open on Saturday afternoons 2-5pm, and Tuesdays 2-4pm, other times ad hoc, and with information displays every day.
- continuing events, including workshops, seminars, guided walkabouts in the town centre, and public meetings.
- exhibitions such as the 3 day exhibition in the Old Waiting Room, the exhibition displays in the ground floor foyer of Peckham library and mobile exhibitions at local community fairs.
- regular emails to a mailing list of some 4000 local people on topical matters relating to the town centre and to the wider Peckham community and posted in the PRN blog.
- Facebook and twitter and local web discussion forums.
- new ways to cater for 'pop-up' volunteering to tap into the enthusiasm of hundreds of potential volunteers able to volunteer only for ad hoc opportunities.
- developing and nurturing relationships and working together with traders and with faith groups.
- Peckham Vision has a community shop in Holdron's Arcade at 135a Rye Lane, donated for community use by the owners Copeland Park. The shop is open on Saturdays 2-5pm and Tuesdays from 2-4pm. It is an information hub and a place for discussions about the town centre, and related matters, and sells for fund raising Peckham themed goods. The arcade is on the site of the original arcade in the Edwardian Holdrons as in the photo. Half the current arcade is embedded in the 1930s art deco building, now occupied by Khan's Bargain store.The other half is housed in the remnants of the Edwardian arcade behind the back of Khan's.
- Peckham Vision is a constituted community association. The work is managed and conducted by a small community team of residents, supported by a range of local people who volunteer for particular events and activities. A Friends organisation is planned for supporters, and for fund raising to support and pay for the considerable work that residents are carrying out unpaid.
- Peckham Vision works closely with other local groups, including the Peckham Society, Transition Town Peckham, the Bellenden Residents Group, the Rye Lane Traders' Association (RLTA), Copeland Park and Benedict O’Looney Architects.
- There are working contacts with Southwark Council, and the rail companies - Network Rail and Southern Rail.
The evolution of Peckham Vision
Peckham Vision grew from the community campaign 2005 - 2009 which questioned the wisdom of demolishing a 6 acre site, including the Bussey Building and Copeland Park, for a tram depot. A brief summary of the evolution over the years since then can be found here.
The nature of community
Underlying the work of Peckham Vision is the understanding that the strength of a community lies in the connections between people who live, work and run businesses there. Peckham Vision is dedicated to exploring and nurturing those connections, and ways to link into their energy and enthusiasm on behalf of our neighbourhood. This work is influenced by the two systems approach developed by Eileen Conn, long time resident of Peckham, co-ordinator and founder of Peckham Vision and associate research fellow of the TSRC (Third Sector Research Centre). Further information about the two systems ‘social eco-systems dance’ model can be found here.