Peckham Rye Station neglected by Network Rail

Network Rail’s redevelopment plans for Peckham Rye Station are more about profit and less about what they actually should be: renovation. The pictures linked below, of the bad condition of Peckham Rye, are a clear example of how Network Rail do not take care of buildings and facilities they own and their customers that use them. These puddles, and sometimes floodings are the direct result of the lack of maintenance, bad drainage and no roof to protect commuters from the rain. Network Rail has decided, in the name of profit, to bring big chains to the area and by doing so, kick out local businesses and communities, rather than simply tidy and refurbish their property, as the Peckham locals have requested.

Watch the trailer of our short film on Network Rail’s development plans, “Bleacher on the Rye”

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Visit our Peckham page for more blogs and information
Click Bleacher on the Rye to purchase our short movie on Network Rail’s redevelopment plans

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Bleacher on the Rye trailer released

Following several successful screenings, we have released a trailer for our new film Bleacher on the Rye, about the proposed redevelopment of Peckham Rye Station.

The residents of Peckham Rye claim they asked for a clean up of the station and surrounding area, described by community group Peckham Vision as a complex site with “commercial buildings nestled amongst railway buildings, viaducts and arches”. Instead the proposed redevelopment would gut the area to make way for a shopping centre and new residential blocks.

The film articulates the concerns of residents and local business people, who oppose the redevelopment, which one man describes as a “bleaching”. “They want a new set of people here,” he says.

Spectacle has been observing and documenting the ‘regeneration’ of London over the past 20 years, which has largely resulted in the displacement of local people, the break up of communities, the creation of gated communities and privatisation of public space.

Please contact us if you would like to organise a screening of this film.

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Screening at Peckham Vision Community Public Event

Spectacle’s latest film ‘Bleacher on the Rye’ will be screened 6pm Wednesday 23rd July in the CLF Art Café, 133 Rye Lane as part of the launch of the community-built model of central Rye Lane as it is now.

The Peckham Vision event is from 3pm until 9pm which includes exhibition and creative activities, meetings and the screening of the film at 6pm.

 

Community-built model

Picture 10As explained on the Peckham Vision website “The Station Gateway site is a complex one with commercial buildings nestled amongst railway buildings, viaducts and arches. The site is divided into properties with addresses on Rye Lane, Holly Grove, Blenheim Grove, Station Way, Dovedale Court, and Blenheim Court. So we created a site map showing exactly where these places are and how they related to the plans for total clearance that we were beginning to hear about. This aid to discussion proved invaluable as during 2013 we took two deputations to the Cabinet, attended a Scrutiny Committee, and took part in many community fairs, events and meetings, and discussion about the issues raised by the plans. Then Network Rail published their proposals to clear the site and redevelop it completely. To be able to have clear discussions, local people needed to have a model of the existing buildings and their layout on the site and also the areas around the site. We had suggested to the Council during the consultations last winter that a model would be very useful for this purpose. But the Council turned down the idea as too expensive. So Peckham Vision decided to ask local people on our networks if they would be interested in making a model with us for use in the planning discussions. Many people responded enthusiastically, and over 30 are now taking part in our model making group under the expert guidance of local architects Benedict O’Looney and Clyde Watson from Peckham Vision. Local organisations supporting the project are the Peckham Society, Whitten Timber and Complete Fabrication, Khan’s Bargain Ltd. We acknowledge with much thanks their support for this community project. The model is at a scale of 1:100 and is slowly taking shape building by building. It should be ready for use in a few weeks.”

Picture 4Read the Guardian City article by Matthew Ponsford: Could ‘co-design’ help Peckham where community consultation failed?

 

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Bleacher on the Rye screenings

Our new film ‘Bleacher on the Rye’ on the proposed redevelopment on Peckham Rye Station by Network Rail has had two recent screenings in order to make local people and businesses aware of this plan that is threatening the station area. Tonight, 6th June 2014 6.15-7.15 there will a third screening at Goldsmiths University as part of the event ‘A Tale of Two Cities: Class and Space in Paris and London.’

The screening is free and open to all. Details here.

The film is still in development but has had two recent local screenings to raise awareness of the plans. At every screening the film is more developed and tweaked to respond to audience feedback.

Wednesday 28th May, ‘Bleacher on the Rye’ was screened at the exhibition ‘CO-IMAGINE the re-development of Peckham Rye Station‘ at Peckham’s CLF Art Cafe (Bussey Building). The exhibition brought together an array of imaginative visions for the future of the station and its surrounding area and an open forum panel discussion with speakers; Eileen Conn from Peckham Vision, local architect Benedict O’Looney and Mark Saunders of Spectacle. The purpose of the event was to provide the necessary space for discussion ahead of Southwark Council and Network Rail’s open ‘co-design’ workshops this summer, in an attempt to actively involve local residents and stakeholders in a collaborative design process to consult on plans for the imminent redevelopment of Peckham Rye Station Gateway.

Friday 30th May Cinema6 screened a slightly updated version of ‘Bleacher on the Rye’ in a Gentrification Double Bill ‘There goes the neighborhood‘ with ‘Concrete Heart Land‘ which documented the attempts by local Heygate residents, in Elephant and Castle, to resist the ongoing process of dispossession and gentrification. Hosted in the cosy arch of artist studios Arcadia Missa Cinema6 together with Full Unemployment Cinema and Southwark Notes opened a lively and fruitful audience discussion with other local activists and artists on shared experiences and strategies.

If you would like to organise a screening of this film please get in touch.

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Our Intentions – Peckham

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Spectacle has been observing and documenting the so called “regeneration” of London over the past 20 years, which has largely resulted in the displacement of local people, the break up of communities, the creation of gated communities and privatisation of public space. This process will lead to London becoming like Paris, where only the rich can afford to live in the city centre and the poor are pushed out to the suburban perimeter, with its associated rise in social tension and social segregation. The pursuit of profits by the privileged few is achieved at the cost of social cohesion, equality of opportunity and quality of life for the many. It is time our elected representatives, instead of being the midwife to such monstrous developments, took a stand to protect their less resourced citizens. But sadly most people in politics see it as a short cut to getting their legs under the boardroom tables and sharing the spoils. They are blind to more benign, alternative ways to really socially regenerate areas.

Peckham, London

We have been closely monitoring the developments surrounding the corporate plans for Peckham Rye Station and the surrounding area. Since January this year we have been filming and interviewing many of those affected by the Network Rail, Greater London Authority and Southwark Council plans.

In mid-May we will be submitting the first edition of our findings in a short, campaign film at a community awareness meeting in central Peckham. The meeting will aim to inform as many people as possible about the events unfolding in the area, as the level of consultation so far has been weak. The film will illustrate some of the devastating effects the redevelopment will have on independent businesses, the growing arts scene in Peckham and the vibrant cohesive community as a whole.

More generally, we are in the process of making a longer documentary dedicated to the story in Peckham, which will touch on corporate redevelopment of London, gentrification and the power of community.

 

If you would like to know more, are interested in sharing your experiences, or would like to contribute to our film about the Peckham Rye Station Redevelopment Project, just email: production@spectacle.co.uk

See Peckham for more blogs and information.
Or visit PlanA, our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.

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Harriet Harman MP met the community to discuss the future of Peckham

Harriet2

A recent meeting between Harriet Harman, MP and the business owners and residents affected by the Peckham Rye Station redevelopment, highlighted some local concerns regarding the Network Rail and Southwark Council plans.

Emphasis was on moving forward since receiving an extension for the GLA (Greater London Authority) funding of £5million, and implementing a consultation/co-design process between local people and architects. Yet ‘compromise’ was also a key theme throughout the meeting, which may prove to be a tougher pill to swallow, particularly with regards to the proposed residential buildings flanking the station.

Local architect, Benedict O’Looney, currently responsible for the restoration for Peckham Rye Station, suggested that rather than stick to the constraints of the land surrounding the station, designers should should look further afield for the space for residential property. On the opposite side of Rye Lane to the station, a large, open space currently occupied by a scaffolding company might make a better place for residential flats, than the cramped and heavily occupied space currently available.

This suggestion to relieve the pressure for housing in the area may make space for some of the original businesses surrounding the station to remain included in the plans, as in the initial design ideas drawn up by Peckham Vision. However, when Southwark councillor, Nick Dolezal, was quizzed over whether these plans would now be considered in the new, co-design process, the only reassurance he could give was that all the plans to date were “relevant”. It seems clear that a lot of unnecessary (public) expenditure has been incurred with regards to the Peckham Rye Station redevelopment, which is now receiving another overhaul.

Meeting2

Unfortunately, it seems that some businesses within the Network Rail estate have little hope of being saved by Southwark Council. Steven Salter, of Innovation Interiors, and Lee Parsons, of Tara Fabrications, voiced their concerns that Network Rail has categorically told them that their businesses are “undesirable” and would not be considered for relocation into Blenheim Court, even if they could afford it. Salter went on to describe how he felt pressured by Network Rail to comply with their notices, as in private meetings he has been told to “keep [his] passions for the community separate from [his] business” otherwise he could face “difficulties”.

Nick Dolezal washed his hands of responsibility as he explained that as Southwark Council are not the landowners for the proposed plans, they are only able to give stakeholders a “greater voice” and administer “guidance” to Network Rail and the GLA on this basis. Harriet Harman empathised and agreed that Network Rail are notoriously “underdeveloped” in the landlord aspect of their empire, particularly since only 6% of their revenue is reportedly invested in the Town and Country Planning Sector. She vowed to meet with Network Rail bosses to discuss how they could “up their game on social responsibility”, in response to Salter’s statements.

Meeting3

The council tried to make it clear to concerned stakeholders that they are still responsible for issuing any planning permissions and they have some control over the rental charges once a planning application is accepted. However, some residents gave the frightening example of a local, Network Rail refurbished unit currently on offer at £45,000 per year, which they claimed was unsuitable and unaffordable for any independent, local business, such as those in Peckham. It seems that despite government and council involvement, the future of Peckham’s small and medium enterprise’s still looks bleak if Network Rail is allowed to steam ahead.

 

Please feel free to leave your comments below.

Get in touch if you would like to contribute to our film about the Peckham Rye Station and Gateway Area Redevelopment Project. Just email: production@spectacle.co.uk

See Peckham for more blogs and information.
Or visit PlanA, our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.

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Pressurisation, Orders to Quit & Private Profit – Network Rail’s Business Model

EileenClaridgeNetworkRailNetwork Rail Winter Newsletter 2012 is dedicated to “Network Rail’s small business owners”. Astonishingly, the same newsletter also features an interview with Eileen Claridge (pictured above), who’s bulldozer attitude is leading to the extinction of exactly this type of business in Peckham.

Eileen Claridge has been tasked with generating financial profit for the Network Rail estate, and she has turned her attention to Peckham. The design plans that were unveiled on 18th January, in a poorly organised consultation meeting, have caused a ruckus amongst many local residents and business owners. Particularly disturbing was the architectural insensitivity to the surrounding areas, including the Rye Lane Conservation Area, the vast redevelopment (rather than regeneration) of the town centre and the absence of any local businesses that already occupy the site.

The Gateway AreaShe wants to design and build “new and flexible buildings”, ignoring the potential of the buildings already in place, such as the 1930’s building either side of the station and belittling the historic architectural conservation of the area. This mentality is all too common in corporations tasked with generating income – rather than saving money by utilising already instated property, the mentality is to spend lots of money to make lots more money. Jane Jacobs‘ prognosis that “new ideas must use old buildings”, has fallen on deaf ears.

Similarly, the lack of acknowledgement of existing businesses within the buildings and arches again indicates how little effort is made to understand the value of Network Rail’s commercial estates, beyond just landmass. There is nothing intelligent about issuing businesses with orders to quit, buying out lease holders, investing vast amounts in glass and stainless steel “workspaces”, then selling them off to private investors for private profit.

Lastly, informants who wish to remain anonymous have told us that Network Rail has been organising individual, private meetings with the tenants and business owners that occupy the site. In these meetings, vulnerable businesses are offered ‘a more comfortable ride’ with their relocating process, in the promise that they distance themselves from a campaign against the redevelopment. The very businesses that have brought people to Peckham recently and those that have been thriving here for years, are now being bullied into leaving their sites without a fuss, so the big boys can reap the benefits of their successes.

 

Please feel free to leave your comments below.

Get in touch if you would like to contribute to our film about the Peckham Rye Station and Gateway Area Redevelopment Project. Just email: production@spectacle.co.uk

See Peckham for more blogs and information.
Or visit PlanA, our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.

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Boxpark threatens to take Peckham as its next victim

01_LRPeckham Peculiar recently uncovered the revelation that may see the end of Peckham as we know it. Not only is Peckham currently battling to protect its thriving local businesses around the station from corporate advances, but it now faces a – not entirely dissimilar – threat from Boxpark; the leading light in over-night gentrification.

Boxpark is the brain child of CEO and founder, Roger Wade, and sees refurbished shipping containers, stacked on top of each other, they claim to be the world’s first pop-up mall in Shoreditch, no less. While the idea has given opportunity to some independent businesses, the local economy is not of primary concern as it is also home to high-end brands like Nike and Puma, as well as all the novelty establishments usually reserved for Glastonbury, like gourmet falafel vendors and taxidermy classes.

The success of Boxpark has been largely driven by tourism and a white, middle-class demographic of ‘alternative’ shoppers, and unarguably it has played some part in the pandemic that is now referred to as ‘Shoreditchification‘. By parachuting this type of demographic into Peckham, so quickly and efficiently, the diverse and cohesive community and businesses that already exist will be undermined, purely on the basis of knock-on rent increases.

A Boxpark can pop-up and then just as easily pop-off leaving the local market and small shops high and dry with “enhanced” rents.

We don’t need this spray on gentrification.

 

Please feel free to leave your comments below.

Get in touch if you would like to contribute to our film about the Peckham Rye Station and Gateway Area Redevelopment Project. Just email: production@spectacle.co.uk

See Peckham for more blogs and information.
Or visit PlanA, our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.

Spectacle homepage
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GLA Funding Extension for Peckham Rye Station

800px-Rye_Lane_Station_1880Following the Peckham and Nunhead Community Council meeting, Southwark Council and Network Rail have asked the Greater London Authority (GLA) for an extension to the funding they are contributing to the Peckham Rye Station redevelopment project.

The GLA had promised a sum of £5 million, which would expire in Spring 2016. For this target to be met, planning applications for the redevelopment would have to be submitted by next month. This race against the clock was partly to blame for the rushed and ill-conceived plans issued by architects Weston+Williams and Network Rail last month, which prompted fraught concern throughout the Peckham community.

Thankfully, Southwark Council last night issued a statement on their website suggesting that “although the decision needs to be finalised, the council is confident that” the GLA will agree to an extension. The acceptance of an extension is designed to allow local people to be more involved in the plans for the station, surrounding areas and businesses, as they should have been from the beginning.

The initial plans for the station square to be opened up began in 2008 and came from local people and members of Peckham Vision. Discussions continued between the community and the council until Network Rail pledged their involvement and ultimately, their investment. It was at this point that any consultation between the planning process and the community stopped and the ‘Gateway‘ Juggernaut began to pick up speed. Although this GLA funding extension is a win on the side of the residents, our council should never have let pound signs come before people.

 

Please feel free to leave your comments below.

Get in touch if you would like to contribute to our film about the Peckham Rye Station and Gateway Area Redevelopment Project. Just email: production@spectacle.co.uk

See Peckham for more blogs and information.
Or visit PlanA, our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.

Spectacle homepage
Like Spectacle Documentaries on Facebook
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Finding Peckham’s Lost Lavatories

In recent years there has been a strong local campaign for a decent provision of public lavatories in Peckham Town centre.

We think that there are lost lavatories at the junction of Rye Lane and The Peckham High Street (Peckham’s village core). A look at maps and historic photographs suggest that a substantial subterranean public lavatory was built around 1900 and was used by the community until about 1955. Photographs show the entrance to lavatories with tall decorative wrought iron railings and flights of steps, north and south, to what must have been substantial, tiled, subterranean Sanitary Courts.

1905 outside Jones & HigginsHere they are in 1905, just outside Jones & Higgins, when Peckham was in its heyday.

1930 Peckham's Public LavatoriesHere are the lavatories as they stood in 1930, next to the tram.

1955 Peckham's Public LavatoriesLastly, here they are in 1955 (note the damage to the department store after the war).

Could these interiors be intact? With the original Edwardian sanitary ware? Under a 1950s concrete slab? We think it is unlikely that this facility was ‘filled in’.

Below is a composite of ordinance surveys from 1914 and 2014, showing the location of the lavatories in relation to the street now. We wonder if the pressure for public toilets in Peckham could be relieved by the re-discovery and restoration of this ‘lost’ facility.

1914 and 2014 Ordinance Survey CompositeLocal architect Benedict O’Looney and Mark Saunders of Spectacle

 

Please feel free to leave your comments below.

Get in touch if you would like to contribute to our film about the Peckham Rye Station and Gateway Area Redevelopment Project. Just email: production@spectacle.co.uk

See Peckham for more blogs and information.
Or visit PlanA, our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.

Spectacle homepage
Like Spectacle Documentaries on Facebook
Follow SpectacleMedia on Twitter

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