Full steam ahead for Peckham Rye Station redevelopment, but locals still feel left behind

News Desk (03 March, 2016) Transport Regeneration

"You’re never going to please everyone, but I really hadn’t expected this level of objection," councillor says

8057Campaigner Eileen Conn disappointed by the planning process for Peckham Rye Station

Plans to redevelop Peckham Rye Station received unanimous approval from Southwark Council’s Planning Committee last night, despite many details remaining undecided.

The decision means the Station’s arcades, which house several independent businesses, will be demolished in favour of an open square at the station’s approach.

The designs, submitted by Landholt and Brown Architects, includes a two-storey extension to the 2-10 Blenheim Grove building. Spaces for a restaurant, office spaces, a takeaway, and public toilets are also in the plans.

Liberal Democrat councillor Adele Morris, a member of the planning committee whose members approved the plans, said she could sense a great amount of unhappiness from residents.

“In the end we all agreed and gave it a unanimous vote, but residents were unhappy with how the consultation had been carried out,” cllr Morris said.

“The planning process was supposed to be ‘co-design’ between residents and the council, but it was clear a lot of people felt the ‘co’ element hadn’t been fulfilled.

“There was a lot of dispute over details like whether to have potted trees or planted trees, for example. So clearly there needs to be some fine tuning.

“You’re never going to please everyone, but I really hadn’t expected this level of objection. Certainly there are points about the co-design process that the council needs to review.”

Among the locals to voice their disappointment with the lack of public consultation was Eileen Conn of Peckham Vision.

She complained that the planning process had been “un-transparent” and that changes to the plans had been made within days of the public consultation ending on February 19.

“There were 96 documents on the council’s website for the public to sift through, with no guidance on how to find key information,” Eileen said.

Among the businesses destined to be kicked out of the arcades are the Chinese and Japanese food bar, Steamer, and the Food Base grocery shop.

Steamer’s manager Qin He, 25, said she had only recently heard about the plans, despite opening ten months ago. “It was a shock,” she said.

“I worry that after it’s done, the businesses that move in will be Starbucks and big chains. It’s only fair that local people should have priority. And it would be impossible for us to start a business outside Peckham.”

Food Base manager Shahid Butt, 31, said: “The council hasn’t spoken to us about it since last year, but I told them it would mean we have to relocate and that would kill our business.”

The station’s operator, Govia, have also told the News the new station will not have any manned ticket offices, with only machines available.

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