Protesters gathered in Peckham on Saturday to show their opposition to the loss of local green space from a planned council development.
Southwark Council has planning permission to build 168 new homes on the “Flaxyard site” between Sumner Avenue, Jocelyn Street and Melon Road, just to the north of Peckham Road. Some 96 of these would be for social rent, with another 24 put up for shared ownership. The tenure of the other 48 is unclear from planning documents, but they could be for private sale or rented at market rates.
The development includes three new buildings, which will go on the green space. Two would be between four and six storeys high and another would have four floors. A fourth building will be converted from offices into flats. There will also be space for shops, restaurants and pubs in the development.
The people who gathered on the grassy area slated for building on Saturday, May 7, said they were worried about losing the green space that has been so important to them in lockdown.
Gabriel Monade, who has lived in a nearby estate for about 20 years, said: “When you go from having a green space outside your door for years to then having a six-storey building in front of your window, that’s a really big change… this is the start of something, we’re getting more people involved.”
Another member of the group added: “This is one of the most egregious examples of Southwark’s contempt for its residents and nature. Peckham is losing a massive open space for what?… We will save this park.”
The council has promised to build 11,000 socially rented homes by 2043 in a bid to tackle the housing crisis in the borough. Some 13,000 households are waiting for affordable housing in the borough and 3,300 are in temporary accommodation
Permission for the new Peckham development was originally granted in March 2018 and subsequent minor changes to plans have been approved in the years since then. Building work is due to begin in August this year.
Councillor Stephanie Cryan, cabinet member for council housing, said: “Southwark Council will be developing 100% affordable housing on the Flaxyard site to provide essential new council homes for our residents. We will be constructing four buildings to deliver 120 much-needed homes (of which 96 will be council homes for social rent and 24 homes for shared ownership).
“One of the blocks will house a ground floor commercial unit, and we could provide a new shop along Peckham High Street. We will also be building a new children’s play area.
“We have worked closely with residents and stakeholders in the area to create the designs and we are confident that the development will enhance the surrounding area as well as providing high-quality new council homes for local people. The works are due to start in early August 2021.”