We at the News have been buoyed by the strong public reaction to proposals to demolish the Peckhamplex Cinema and multi-storey carpark.
As we all know, this isn’t just a cinema. The Peckhamplex is the cheapest in London, it’s independently run, and is known as something of a landmark even to those less familiar with our borough. Last year it was even awarded a Southwark Council Civic Award during a ceremony at Southwark Cathedral.
After it was first floated in 2014, this proposal has re-emerged and made its way into the draft New Southwark Plan (NSP) – a prospectus of potential development sites across the borough.
It is true to say that many of the sites in the NSP may not be touched by bulldozers and builders for five or ten years. But be under no illusion, this stage of the NSP’s creation is crucial.
The draft of the Plan is currently out for public consultation, and anyone who is concerned by what they have read in our front page story ought to take part. Let Southwark Council’s planning officers know the strength of your feelings on this.
Because when the draft plan is formalised, it will become official council policy for these sites – including the Peckhamplex and multi-storey carpark with Frank’s Café and the soon-to-open Peckham Levels – to be demolished to make way for flats.
The Peckhamplex’s managers have issued a diplomatic response: that they are not opposed “in principle” to the site being demolished, so long as they can be given a new cinema building to move into, that allows them to continue operating affordably, in the centre of Peckham, and without interruption.
If the council digs in its heels and insists on redeveloping the site, we sincerely hope, at the very least, that Southwark Council will be able to fulfil those terms. Otherwise it will inevitably be to the detriment of Peckham’s unique, authentic cultural offering, which has made the area so desirable and so loved in the first place.