Our Intentions – Peckham

800px-Rye_Lane_Station_1880

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.

Spectacle homepage
Like Spectacle Documentaries on Facebook
Follow SpectacleMedia on Twitter

 

 

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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
Like Spectacle Documentaries on Facebook
Follow SpectacleMedia on Twitter

 

 

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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
Follow SpectacleMedia on Twitter

 

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A small triumph for Peckham at the Community Council Meeting

Ruth Kennedy discusses the deputationThe Peckham and Nunhead Community Council Meeting at Harris Academy Peckham on Wednesday 12th February saw Peckham residents and local business owners gather to discuss, directly with Southwark councilors, the plans for Peckham Rye Station.

A crowd beginning to gather for the Community Council Meeting, Wed 11 Feb

The chair announced the deputation that had been devised by local Peckham people, including Eileen Conn of Peckham Vision.

Chair of Peckham & Nunhead Community Council Meeting

Ruth Kennedy, a Peckham resident for over 20 years, read the Deptuation Statement to the room. It outlined the lack of communication between Southwark Council, the GLA and Network Rail, and the subsequent lack of consultation with local people regarding the developing plans. It emphasised the threat the plans pose for the local economy, in particular the cultural quarter, and disputed the size and scale of the primarily residential block developments surrounding the station. The lack of basic priorities that the public had asked for, specifically public toilets and the open square, were also brought to Southwark’s attention.

Ruth Kennedy delivers the deputation to Southwark CouncilRuth concluded by asking two questions:

Please can we meet to co-construct a process of meaningful ongoing collaboration, that will see this development through to a fantastic transformation for Peckham?

Can we begin the next phase with the curation of a robust, creative workshop, involving all three partners and the community, so everyone is hearing the same messages, and is engaged in collaborative problem-solving together?

A long applause for the deputation!…which received tumultuous applause.

Cllr Fiona Colley agrees with the issues raised in the deputation

Councillor Fiona Colley (pictured) thanked those involved for devising the deputation and enthusiastically agreed to both points. She announced that a meeting between Southwark Council and Network Rail would be taking place next week in order to discuss the plans and that the speed of the development was controlled by a deadline for the Spring 2016 GLA fund of £5million, which in order to be completed, a planning application would need to be submitted by next week. Therefore, Colley has arranged to meet with the GLA to seek an extension of the deadline.

Local Peckham resident BarryShe agreed that the issue of public toilets needed to be addressed and apologised for the way the subject was handled at the January 18th Public Consultation meeting. With regards to the threat to industry as a result of the redevelopment, Colley was wholeheartedly behind protection of these businesses and incorporation of them into new plans so they are not priced out. As such, she announced that Southwark Council would not be using compulsory purchase orders for this project and that betting shops and payday lenders would be excluded from the area. She also said that the plans for Dovedale Court demonstrated a real “lack of vision” and clarity, and that Network Rail did indeed only give generic answers to question of potential rent prices at the last meeting.

Peckham residents and business owners deliver the deputation

However, the issue of the seven-storey, residential buildings proposed around the station were keenly glossed over. Colley agreed that she saw little reason for the 30’s building to be torn down and that the height and density of the residential blocks should be discussed further with Network Rail, but she did not oppose their existence.

Peckham & Nunhead Community Council Meeting

Among the victories that Peckham has won here, we are in danger of compromising on other aspects of the redevelopment that also pose a real threat to the carefully balanced ecosystem of Peckham Rye. It certainly suits Southwark Council to shift blame to Network Rail, yet we must remember that all parties were aware of the scale of the redevelopment plans.

Nick Dolezal agrees with deputation

Please feel free to leave your comments below in answer to these questions or any other statements throughout the blog.

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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Like Spectacle Documentaries on Facebook
Follow SpectacleMedia on Twitter

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Elephant & Castle Regeneration: The Heygate Diaspora

The Heygate Diaspora June 8th, 2013

“There is a huge silent majority of people that have been moved out of the Heygate that are happy in their new homes.”
Cllr Fiona Colley Cabinet Member for Regeneration

“I could no longer afford to stay in the area and, in the end, the offer I was made plus £45,000 of my life savings bought me a terraced property 15 miles out of London. I have, I feel, given up my home to accommodate the building of homes for overseas investors.”
Terry Redpath Former Heygate Leaseholder

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Property Week Magazine – 17/05/13
In our last blog post we corrected some of the more fanciful claims that council leader Peter John made about the rehousing of Heygate tenants. We showed that only 45 Heygate tenants have actually been rehoused in new homes. We now also know that only around 1 in 5 Heygate secure tenants actually remain in the SE17 postcode (216 tenants out of 1034). This information comes from a response to an FOI request. The rest have been scattered to the outer corners of the borough and beyond:

Around half have relocated to SE postcodes (including Woolwich, Thamesmead and Welling), most of the rest have had to move to suburbs such as Sidcup, St. Albans, Chelmsford, Croydon, Bexley Heath, Ilford, Romford, Dartford, Cheshunt, Mitcham and West Thurrock. The reason for this is clear: the very low levels of compensation leaseholders have received for their Heygate homes. This link has a full list of the amounts paid to Heygate leaseholders. It is compiled from information received through Freedom of Information requests, and includes an indexed column showing today’s value of the settlements.

The average compensation paid for a 1 bed flat is £108,164 (indexed to today’s value). Owners of 2 bed flats received on average £122,140, 3 bed maisonettes £185,070 and 4 bed maisonettes £209,440. Some home owners got particularly poor deals: one leaseholder received just £32,000 for a 1 bed flat in 2008.

Compare this to the cost of the new Heygate homes as advertised by Lend Lease. These start at £330k for a 1 Bed flat, £455k for a 2 Bed flat and £590k for a 3 Bed – (www.trafalgarplace.com)

All in all not many residents – whether a secure tenant, an insecure tenant or a leaseholder – will get either a new home or a home in Elephant and Castle through this regeneration.

See more information at http://35percent.org/blog/2013/06/08/the-heygate-diaspora/

Also learn more about the forced housing deplacement here.

 

 

 

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