One year after floating plans to demolish the Peckham Arch, Southwark Council has submitted plans for new flats and shopping space in Peckham Square.
A planning application includes details of nineteen new flats in three and four-storey buildings in the square off Peckham High Street.
If approved, the £11.8m project could also see the removal of the Peckham Platform exhibition space, in favour of a wider square.
The designs by Carl Turner Architects suggest 30 of the 58 “habitable rooms” in the flats could be for affordable rent, and a fraction of those as social rent. The ground floors would also include a mixture of gallery, co-work, and retail space.
But locals groups who have been banging the drum for protecting the nineteen-year-old Peckham Arch have accused the council “of having an agenda” to get it removed.
A spokesman from the Save Peckham Arch campaign told the News: “It’s unique and flamboyant. I believe what is unique to Peckham should not be replaced with buildings that are replicas of what we can find elsewhere.
“It would be extremely un-Peckham to get rid of our arch, and I think doing so would be a decision we would all live to regret, just like we regretted getting rid of Peckham Lido.
“We understand the requirement, but feel this would be better suited to another site. We don’t think the council has explored the alternatives.”
A planning statement within the application said: “The structure [of the arch] is in need of extensive maintenance, with the lighting system no longer functioning and the structure requiring cleaning and re-painting.
“The roof membrane is also nearing the end of its lifespan and a survey of the roof is required.”
Councillor Mark Williams, Southwark Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, said: “We know there are strong feelings about the arch, which has been a landmark for the town for many years.
“When we looked at the long term plans for Peckham and the acute need for new homes, especially bigger homes for families in social housing, and affordable office and work space we concluded that removing the arch was the best way forward.”
Will Alsop, the architect won the Stirling Prize in 2000 with his design of the Peckham Library, said the plan would “destroy” an “important bit of townscape”.
Local architect Benny O’Looney told the News: “The arch was built as a ‘celebratory arch’. A bold, grand gesture from Southwark Council… promising a renaissance for Peckham town centre, which was then at a low point.”