Rye Lane and Station Action Group (RLSAG)
The Rye Lane & Station Action Group (RLSAG) first met on 23 September 2004. It was set up jointly by local resident Eileen Conn from the Bellenden Residents’ Group (BRG) and Russell Profitt then the Head of the Council’s Regeneration team the Peckham Programme. The aim was to provide a forum for local residents to work with the Council and any others interested to improve the quality of Rye Lane shopping area and Peckham Rye station. Both had suffered years of very poor physical environment and a continuing deterioration in the quality and diversity of retail provision.
The RLSAG adopted the iconic 19th century photograph of the station as its motif and produced a postcard which has had widespread circulation. This helped significantly in raising awareness that the original historic and magnificent station building was still there behind the obtrusive 20th century buildings in front of it.
Since then, much progress was made occasionally. The effectiveness of refuse collection in Rye Lane was improved considerably, and the area around the station cleaned up from time to time. But if there is not constant vigilance, improvements tend to fall back and the progress is not usually maintained.
RLSAG has however been able to keep bringing attention back to the issues and has in the meantime contributed significantly to the raising of awareness locally, in the Council and in the rail companies, of the potential for transforming the station and its environment as the major gateway into Peckham. This has gone hand in hand with the work of Peckham Vision which was created by the local community in 2006 to raise awareness of the potential of the very large site on the opposite side of Rye Lane between Bournemouth Road and Copeland Road. Peckham Vision developed a draft masterplan for Rye Lane Central for a longer term vision for transforming the station and its wider environment in central Rye Lane. All this work is however still very much work-in-progress in 2010. Now that the threat of major demolition, on the eastern side of Rye Lane opposite the station is over, local attention can now focus on the positive scope for improvements.
The aim is that the newly emerging Peckham Town Centre Forum will provide a regular process to bring together all those with energy, enthusiasm and ideas to take forward the ideas for the town centre as a whole including Rye Lane Central. In the meantime the RLSAG can continue to provide a forum where necessary for matters specifically about the station, and cleaning up and improving the physical state of Rye Lane.
There have been 11 RLSAG meetings. Click here for the record of all the proceedings.
Here is a summary of the last two meetings:
11th Meeting 28th October 2009 Summary
This was the Group's 5th anniversary. It was very well attended with over 60 present. The meeting reviewed the work on improving the interior and exterior of the station, and the plans for integrated developments on the east and west side of central Rye Lane. The meeting heard that English Heritage had delivered their detailed report on the historic buildings in the town centre supporting the case for the Conservation Area; work was progressing steadily through the Peckham Society and RLSAG with the support of the Council on rehabilitating the station Old Billiard Hall; ideas for using the space were being developed, including creating a public restaurant and café there; and the rail industry now accepted that making the station fully accessible was a priority and plans were now being developed by Southern Rail. There was little progress though on the ambitious plans for the station square and rear market courtyard. These depended on a positive change in the expectations of the property owners and developers in central Rye Lane showing confidence in the area by investment. The huge success in 2009 of Frank’s Café and the Art Gallery in the multi storey car park showed some of the as-yet untapped potential. The presentations stimulated animated discussion and a strong demand for opportunities for continued dialogue leading to deeper analysis and effective actions. This gave rise to a meeting six weeks later, from which emerged the Peckham Town Centre Forum
10th Meeting 22nd October 2008 Summary
This was the Group's 4th anniversary. It was very well attended by residents with nearly 50 present, and also other stakeholders - Network Rail and Southern Rail, and the Council. The rail companies reported on current improvements to the railway infrastructure in and around the station and tracks, and the Council presented a report on how to achieve the transformation of the station area including the new piazza. Peckham Vision and The Peckham Society presented ideas on how those very welcome developments would fit into the vision of a transformed central Rye Lane, including the emerging Copeland Cultural Quarter on the site designated for the tram depot. The Council explained that the forthcoming consultations on the Peckham Area Action Plan (PAAP) provided the context for considering all these ideas. The positive ideas were welcomed by the meeting as realistic ways of transforming the town centre. The obstacles were acknowledged, but also that there was willingness of the Council and community to work together to overcome them.