A new community space in Old Kent Road where residents and businesses can come together to share their ideas for the area’s 20-year regeneration project has opened its doors.
The shared space at 231 Old Kent Road launched on April 4 and aims to help people get involved with the often complex planning process, and ensure they can have their say on plans for new housing and developments.
Plans for Old Kent Road include 20,000 new homes, three new Bakerloo line tube stations, two primary schools, a new town centre and three new parks – the equivalent of eleven football pitches of new green space.
The launch coincided with a new exhibition going on display- Museum of Us – and a series of workshops, events and tours all focused on celebrating Old Kent Road’s heritage, dating back to Roman times.
Councillor Johnson Situ, Cabinet Member for Growth, Development and Planning at Southwark Council, said: “I was delighted to be at the official opening of our new community space and be able to reiterate the council’s commitment to ensuring the local community remain at the heart of plans for the Old Kent Road.
“Growing up in the area, I know the importance of a space which brings together local people to have their say in the exciting changes taking place in the area over the next 20 years.”
One resident, Shelene, who spoke at the launch, had lived in this part of Southwark for two decades.
She said: “When I was invited by to be a part of the Museum of Us project I wanted to be involved because I am proud of my area where I have lived for such a long time.
“I’ve seen many changes happen but never felt the changes involved my opinion or ideas even though the changes may have had a negative impact on how I experienced my area.
“So I wanted to use this opportunity to shine a light on how people should and can be involved in how decisions made can be impacted by our voice.
“The path that has led me to be more aware of how to become involved with the goings on in and around my area wasn’t born overnight but stemmed from organisations such as Pempeople.
“Prior to this I was oblivious to how if I wanted to be involved in changes affecting my area or setting up a local project for the benefit of locals so community forums like this will create a beneficial platform that I hope locals will feel encouraged to utilise.
“And I do hope that the council and other organisations involved in the changes will listen and take on board people’s comments and feedback so that together we can form a super Southwark”.