Peckham Vision's focus is community and civic engagement in matters affecting Peckham town centre, and related matters affecting London SE15 more widely.
We are a resident-led local citizens' association of individuals who live, work or run a business in Peckham. The vision is to develop an integrated approach to Peckham town centre as essential to 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.
- Peckham Vision's role.
- Peckham Vision and a history of Copeland Park
- Introducing Peckham Vision - 11 minute video by George Okello
- The role of community action. page being constructed.
- 1 An integrated town centre
- 2 Pioneering new approaches to citizen engagement
- 3 Working arrangements
- 4 The evolution of Peckham Vision
- 5 The nature of community
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 2005 is on this website; for example
- the original paper written by Eileen Conn in July 2005 starting the work that led to the campaign about the tram depot plan and the emergence of Peckham Vision
- Transforming Central Rye Lane and An alternative vision for Rye Lane Central which were panels in the Peckham Vision exhibition in the Old Waiting Room 2012.
We have taken a lead to demonstrate the role of historical and old 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.
- taken the lead in bringing community views together at the PNAAP Public Inquiry leading to the first saving of the Peckham Multi Storey building from redevelopment. For the second stage of the campaign see here - finally successful in October 2017.
- A list of specific achievements over the years is here.
We work with and link residents and 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 unit in Holdron's Arcade, 135a Rye Lane. There is an exhibition on display in the windows and accessible every day from Monday to Saturday from 2pm to 8pm and on Sunday 2pm to 5pm.
- 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. Over the last few years these developed ito the Open Studio events in our Bussey studio, for example in 2018 Peckham Festival. The studio closed in March 2023.
- 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 until 2017 posted in the PRN blog. Since then this service reduced while we developed social media channels on Twitter (now X) (9,200 followers), Facebook (almost 4000 followers) and Instagram (2,400 followers).
- 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 used to be open for pop-up events and on Saturday afternoons. Since the pandemic we have created a window information display about Peckham Vision's work in the town centre and the lessons learnt through the campaigns. The Arcade is on the exact footprint of the original arcade in the Edwardian Holdrons, built in the 1900s, which is shown in the photos to the right. That Arcade was between numbers 135 and 137 Rye Lane, whereas the current arcade is embedded in the 1930s art deco building, which replaced the Edwardian building at 135 Rye Lane, and which is now occupied by Khan's Bargain store. A remnant of the original floor, seen in the photo of the Arcade, can still be seen at the back of the current Arcade, and the remnants of the roof of the Edwardian Arcade protruding from behind the back of Khan's can be seen from the upper floors of the Bussey Building, and eventually will be rejoined to the current Arcade.
- Peckham Vision also has a studio on the second floor of the Bussey Building (Stair C) which before the pandemic was open on publicised dates at a weekend from midday to 5pm, when volunteers were available. These were occasions when people could visit the studio to find out more about the work behind the scenes, and to chat about Peckham news and what community action can do to influence what happens, while enjoying tea and home made cake. During the lockdowns we have been working with others to create community zoom events which in part for the moment have replaced the open studio days.
- Peckham Vision is a constituted community association. The constitution is here. The work is managed and conducted by a very 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 the considerable work that residents are carrying out unpaid. Peckham Vision has a mailing list of over 3000 local people. Our policy on protection of that data is set out in this statement.
- Peckham Vision works with other local groups, such as the Peckham Heritage Partnership Aylesham Community Action Peckham Society, Transition Town Peckham, the Bellenden Residents Group, the Rye Lane Traders' Association (RLTA), Copeland Park, Peckham Levels, Southwark Law Centre and Benedict O’Looney Architects. Here is a useful history of the work of Peckham Vision alongside the Peckham Society from 1980s to 2015.
- Peckham Vision is an active member of:
- 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, and from the parallel community action to improve the area around Peckham Rye station. A brief summary of the evolution over the years since then can be found here.
Peckham Vision itself grew from community action in the Bellenden Residents' Group (BRG) that covers the area to the SW of Peckham Rye station. BRG is now relatively dormant as its actions were eventually integrated into those of Peckham Vision. The links below are aspects of life in the BRG area that caught the media's attention. It is still a neighbourhood intrinsically interrelated with the town centre.
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 nurturing those connections, and exploring ways to link into the energy and enthusiasm 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. Local paper Peckham Peculiar pp10-11 front cover story in February 2019 carried an interview with Eileen Conn about her work and the work of Peckham Vision.
Books & other publications
- Passport to Peckham: culture and creativity in a London village, by Robert Hewison.2022. Extensive references to Peckham Vision and Eileen Conn (see index). Reviews:
- Spatial practices: modes of action and engagement with the city. Author: Melanie Dodd. 2019.
- Peckham Vision is one of three case studies in Chapter 4. Poor Relations: Community Activism as Spatial Practice by Donna Turnbull
- Chapter 8. Reclaiming the City: Tactical spatial practices and the production of urban citizenship by Oscar Brito - referencing Eileen Conn’s two systems model of community engagement.
- Peckham Vision Panel in ‘Southwark Today’ exhibition. The exhibition is at the new Heritage Centre in Walworth Library (next to the former Walworth Library that was burnt in a fire), featuring community action across the borough on a wide range of activities over the last 20 years or so from the 1990s. This is material that will be added to the local Borough archives. The exhibition gives excerpts from the stories of community groups, including a panel the project created with and about Peckham Vision. The exhibition is there for a year until June 2023. It is open Monday to Friday 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12pm-4pm. See the details here: https://bit.ly/3INgzu8
- Peckham Vibes and a Carpark: The Arts, Creative Industries, and Graffiti in the Experience of Place By Danielle Khleang MA dissertation. 2018 Analysis of role of various actors including Peckham Vision.
Participation at events
- South London Gallery 22 February 2022 HISTORIES IN FOCUS: WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN? Local activist Eileen Conn introduces the Peckham Action Group (PAG) and details their early history, covering the group’s inception and activist approaches whilst acting in opposition to the proposed relocation of Southwark Town Hall and the widening of Peckham Road.
- Future of London Panel 30 June 2022 - Rethinking Community Engagement - Eileen Conn speaking notes.
Video clips relating to Peckham Vision's work
- December 2011: Interview with Eileen Conn on: Why community groups are more energy waves than organisational matter.
- Spring 2012: Peckham pitch for a Portas pilot project and here also.
- Summer 2012: 5 x 15 TED type talk by Eileen Conn on the 'transformation' of Peckham in Central Rye Lane from 2005. This talk was held in the straw auditorium of Bold Tendencies.
- September 2013: BBC London News Gentrification distorting Peckham
- February 2014 ITV News Peckham station redevelopment could destroy the area
- October 2015: Launch of Ordinary Streets film - a short film based on an ethnographic and visual exploration of the spaces, economies and cultures of ‘street’... through the lens of Rye Lane in Peckham. Eileen Conn Peckham Vision contributes.
- July 2015: Video of talk by Eileen Conn at Just Space Conference on The London Plan and Building other ways of thinking about London's economy.
- March 2016: News report: Peckham Vision and the Saviour of Copeland Park: Artefact video 10 mins.
- 17th March 2017: Call for action for community development at CDNL (Community Development Network London) How neighbourhood community planning action groups are part of community development work.
- Multi Storey car park campaign London TV news ?April 2017
- April 2017 London ITN News saving the PeckhamPlex cinema
- November 2017 Old Mill Building threatened with demolition
- 9th December 2017: Peckham Levels Launch
- 2018 This is Peckham, mentions Peckham Multi Storey & Bussey Building & Peckham Vision
- 2019 Peckham Vision and Peckham Heritage working together (10 min clip)
- August 2020 - 3 short videos about Peckham Vision by George Okello:
- "2022 The Peckham Documentary" - George Okello's 5 videos about Peckham including the three above about Peckham Vision.
- October 2020 - A Deputation to Southwark Council Cabinet on Planning White Paper 35 mins in to 47 mins.
- August 2020 - Eileen Conn 6 min video on responsible stewardship of public land for UCL students MSc. This is one of several short videos from the DPU-funded 'Our Land: Southwark Stories' short-films project which explores the use, abuse and potential of public land in the inner-London Borough of Southwark.
- November 2021 - short video on restoration of Khan's Rye Lane building
Media reports relating to Peckham Vision's work
- Feb 2007 Peckham Vision's forecast of Peckham's Cultural Quarter in Time Out ---------------------------->>>>>>>>>>>>
- August 2012 Peckham Vision town centre exhibition in Old Waiting Room
- December 2012 coming of the Overground
- 4th December 2014 The new community: How records are shaping local culture in South East London
- 22nd August 2017 Peckham Levels interview blog
- 13th Septenber 2017 Peckham Festival interview blog
- September 2017 'The Southwark Review' pages 28-33 article: 'Peckham's Cultural Epicentre' including comments on role of Peckham Vision, & history of Wilson family ownership of the site
- September 2017 'Peckham's Cultural Epicentre' in Southwark Review as a pdf
- July 2018 Peckham Vision's work in the town centre scroll halfway through the blog.
- August 2018 Mapping Peckham in South London Gallery Journal blog: contribution from 'Eileen Conn, Founder and Coordinator of Peckham Vision'
- July 2019 Defending her area against the soulless and the expensive - Peckham Vision's Eileen Conn is a hero of localism
- September 2019 Extract from page 25 in the 2019 Annual Report of Centre for London* Our Developing Trust conference was a highly participatory event which encouraged honest, open discussion. It attracted over 235 delegates and 25 speakers, including Jules Pipe, Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, Eileen Conn, Founder and Co-ordinator, Peckham Vision, Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader, London Borough of Wandsworth, and Toby Lloyd, Special Adviser, Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street. (*Centre for London is ‘London’s think tank. Our mission is to develop new solutions to London’s critical challenges and advocate for a fair and prosperous global city. We are a politically independent charity. We help national and London policymakers think beyond the next election and plan for the future.)'
- September 2019 6. The Londonist: Take a stroll through Peckham's coolest corridor ...Around 20 independent businesses inhabit Holdrons Arcade — a corridor of wonders, housed in an old 1930s shopping mall. Here you will find local Peckham radio station Balamii; cult fashion stores like Wavey Garms and vintage fashion retailer Little Sister; and Deserted Cactus, which serves up a mean jerk tofu-fried dumpling burger. Peckham Vision, meanwhile is a citizens' action group promoting community action and creating opportunities for people locally.
- September 2019 Fact Based Audits New London Quarterly
- June 2020 Inside-out development in Grosvenor Estate essays on publication of Grosvenor Group Community Charter.
- July 2020 Inside-out development with fact-based audits in South London Press.
- September 2021 Property Week High streets are facing considerable change following the move towards online retail and the impact of the pandemic. However, there is an opportunity for local residents to work alongside businesses and urban designers to rejuvenate local centres. South London citizens’ action group Peckham Vision has been shown to be successful, but can its approach be adopted elsewhere? ...
- October 2021 Sunday Times "PECKHAM’S NEW ORDER - (pdf) - It’s a more desirable place. But a lot of the people who made Peckham what it was can’t afford to be here any more. That’s sad." the Sunday Times link
Previous media reports on Peckham Vision work are currently being collated.
- September 2011 SNIPE London
- Spring/Summer 2012 Boat Magazine
- August 2017 Peckham Perspectives - Peckham Levels
- September 2017 Peckham Festival
- October 2018 My London Story. pdf from Time Out From Time Out weblink.
- January 2019 Peckham Peculiar
- September 2019 Fact Based Audits New London Quarterly
- January 2020 interview in New London Quarterly
- January 2020 Peckham Vision and a history of Copeland Park Copeland Park blog
- May 2020 comment on co-design in The Planner
- July 2020 Inside-out development with fact-based audits in South London Press. https://bit.ly/3Q3rov8
- May 2021 LONDON MAYORAL STATEMENT OF COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT (MSCI) in RTPI The Planner May 2021