Peckham and Nunhead area action plan

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The Peckham and Nunhead Area Action Plan is a document to protect the past, the present and the future of Peckham and surrounding areas and ensure a long-lasting improvement and vitality to the Peckham and Nunhead area. This document will be looking at Peckham and Nunhead in the 1980's, Peckham and Nunhead today and Peckham and Nunhead in 2030.

The definition of an Area Action Plan (AAP) is - A Development Plan Document that may be used by the local planning authority to provide a planning framework for areas of change and areas of conservation. It is intended to deal with specific areas and specific requirements such as the redevelopment of an area of derelict land and buildings.

The Peckham and Nunhead area of Southwark is expected to experience significant development and change over the next 25 years and beyond. The Peckham and Nunhead Area Action Plan will ensure that growth is delivered to provide maximum benefits and sustainability for the community of the area and the wider community of the Borough.

The need for an Area Action Plan arises from development opportunities, and the pressures to protect existing land-uses in the area. The Area Action plan will be moulded around outside influences like existing and future property market cycles, the economy, changing planning policies and the need for certain land-uses.

Vision and OpportunitiesThe Vision:

Provide a successful place where people want to live, work and visit. The area must provide good housing, safe environment, good transport which links to the Greater London, good schools, shops, health and leisure facilities.

The Opportunities:

The main opportunities are:

Development potential

The poor quality of many existing buildings and the availability of vacant and underutilised development land mean that there are plenty of opportunities for redevelopment within Peckham and Nunhead area and for the quality of architecture and the way buildings relate to the character and appearance of the street scene to improve.

More life and activity

New development will result in bringing more life and activity into the Peckham and Nunhead area to make it feel more like a vibrant town centre. This may include new residents, new businesses and other town centre uses and new local facilities. This will help to make the area feel safer and allow users to use the area and its facilities at any time of the day or the week and therefore can support and sustain a mixed community.

Better connection for pedestrians and cyclists

The poor network of pedestrian and cycle routes can be improved and extended so that people can move freely and safely around the Peckham and Nunhead area and in all directions.

A more attractive and accessible public realm

One of the main opportunities is to create a sense of place that feels like an inviting town centre with easily accessible links to neighbouring residential areas that is attractive and welcoming for everyone.

Variety of high quality places and spaces can be created for people to enjoy, whether they need to move around the area, or because they wish to spend time in it. These will benefit the businesses within the town centre and also the wider community of local residents.

New development or other uses will crease the number of people moving around the area on foot and will place pressure on local open spaces, which are already in short supply.

Sustainable development

New developments will be able to minimise environmental impacts in terms of energy use and generation.

Relationship with national, regional and local planning policy

National planning policy is contained in a series of Planning Policy Statements (PPS) and other documents which establish planning principles and policies for the whole of England. The Peckham and Nunhead Area Action Plan will be consistent with National Planning Policy.

The London Plan, which is prepared by the Mayor of London, sets out regional planning policies for the Greater London.

Local planning policies are contained in The Southwark Plan (UDP) and Supplementary Planning Documents (SPD) which establish planning principles and policies for the London Borough of Southwark. The Peckham and Nunhead Area Action Plan will be consistent with National Planning Policy.

The boundaries of the Area Action Plan

The Area Action Plan tackles issues across the Peckham Community Council and Nunhead and Peckham Rye Community Council areas (see figure 1). Peckham and Nunhead lies in the eastern part of the Borough. The area is bounded by the Borough border with the London Borough of Lewisham to the east.

Peckham and Nunhead in the 1980's

Shopping and leisure activities are an integral part of our lives and can be described as a necessity. This necessity provides the need for certain types of facilities and this changed over the years at the need of the shoppers changed.

Shopping is an integral part of our daily lives. It is both a necessity and a leisure pursuit. The large number of consumers involved in the process creates a complex set of forces that influences the distribution of shops. Poole has a significant role in the provision of retailing in the South East Dorset conurbation, with the town centre serving a catchment beyond the Borough's boundary.

Until the mid-1980s, shopping was distributed in a relatively clear hierarchy of principal centres, district centres, neighbourhood centres and local centres. The population growth in these areas prompted new investment in shopping facilities, including the up-grading of the town centre and the provision of new neighbourhood centres to serve large new housing estates. Between the mid-1980's and early 1990's, there was considerable growth in retail floorspace outside traditional centres. This period has been know as a "free-for-all" as a result of the relaxing of previous policies which protected the retail hierarchy and allowing the developers to built whatever wherever they wish.

A network of free-standing food superstores were developed as well as retail warehouse parks serving a catchment area outside of the normal borough boundaries. The mid 1990's witnessed a decline in the condition of some of the retail parks while the market for large convenience stores had been met by significant new store openings in the early part of the decade. The 1990's have now moved on from the "free-for -all" to a more controlled system governed by PPG 6.

The evolution of town centres over the 1980's and 1990's has seen a relative decline in retail and a move towards leisure activities. This is a result in the changing of lifestyles, woman entering the workplace and the change of uses in the town centres. The food stores showed an increase, but the demands have changed for more convenient food stores and the increase in demand for fresh produce.

As a result of this the town centres have changed towards a more service based centre, like cafe's etc, which has been driven by combination of factors including changes in lifestyle, more disposal income and a greater interest in self-image.

Peckham and Nunhead today

While this document looks ahead to 2030, the area action plan is not starting from scratch and will continue on existing programs which has been put in place already.

Community wellbeing
  • Making Peckham and Nunhead feel safer are big issues. The council and the police are working hard to achieve this.
  • There is a concern about gun and knife crimes in the area and many local users of Peckham and Nunhead feel unsafe at night in these areas.
  • The Council recently introduced a saturation policy in the town centre controlling the amount of night clubs, pubs, bars and off licences.
  • There is a high concentration of social housing in Peckham and therefore more family homes are needed to allow people to stay in the area.
Local business and employment
  • Over 1 400 businesses, mostly small in size are located in Peckham. Many of these are industrial uses including workshops, builders' yards and light industrial.
  • Peckham has a growing reputation as a centre of creativity and large arts community, attracted by low rents and accessible cultural spaces.
  • Affordable studio space is needed to support a creative and cultural hub. However the Peckham and Nunhead area action plan could increase the cost of business space. Business space is also coming under pressure to be redeveloped for other uses.
  • Peckham has an above average unemployment rate and many people with a little of no skills.
Traffic and transport (see figure 2)
  • Peckham Rye, Queens Road and Nunhead stations provide very good transport links to central London and the underground networks. There are many bus routes that are well used. However North Peckham lacks good public transport links.
  • Peckham is overrun by vehicular traffic and suffers from a shortage of parking. Parking restriction around train stations cause commuters to park in residential streets.
  • The one way traffic system causes congestion through the town centre, which is very crowded with pedestrians, cars and bus traffic which shares the narrow streets.
  • There is no direct cycle links through the town centre. Walking and cycle routes are of a poor standard and needs improvement.
Shopping and the town centre (see figure 3)
  • Peckham town centre is the largest shopping are in Southwark and is trading well with very few vacancies. It is well known for its independent (foreign) food stores and as a result of this attracts shoppers from outside the area.
  • The town centre is surrounded by residential uses; however the noises and smells from businesses and traffic have a negative impact on the residential areas.
  • The town centre does not have a good mix of shops, such as larger department stores. Peckham's reputation as an unsafe area discourages big name stores to operate in the town centre.
  • The street traders in the town centre give Peckham a unique identity. However the stalls are not doing as well as the local shops in the area. Many small shops have removed their shop fronts and this gives the appearance of a market stall.
  • There is a shortage of shops and community facilities in the north of Peckham.
  • The town centre is busy during the day, but Rye Lane south of the railway was less activity than the north because there are no major shops or facilities to attract local residents. At night there are not many people about because of the feeling that the area is unsafe. There are many takeaways, but few restaurants and cafes.
  • There are lots of vacant space above the shops on Rye Lane, Peckham High Street and Queens Road.
  • Shop fronts need improving in local shopping areas. Furthermore the footpaths are filled with rubbish generated by local business.
Community Facilities
  • Much of the Peckham and Nunhead area is within 10% to 20% of the most deprived in relation to education, skills and training. However this has been address in recent years with investment. See the following projects:
  • Building Peckham Academy
  • Improvement to Oliver Goldsmith Primary School
  • Improvements to Dog kennel Hill Primary School
  • Building Harris Boys Academy
  • A new school for Tuke School on Daniel Gardens
  • Peckham and Nunhead have a mix of open spaces, entertainment and leisure facilities offering a range of different sport and leisure opportunities. This includes new facilities such as Peckham Pulse, Central Venture Park and improvements to Peckham Rye.
  • The historic environment
    • Peckham and Nunhead have a long history reflected in lots of interesting buildings of different character.
    • Peckham and Nunhead history dates back a very long time and have areas of archaeological interest.
    Peckham and Nunhead in 2030Regeneration of Peckham and Nunhead in 2030Housing
    • Increase amount of housing in the area (see figure 4).
    Business space
    • Protect existing business premises
    • Give priority to space for creative industries
    • Provide space for small businesses
    • Increase retail space
    • Bigger shop units to allow big name stores to take up retail space
    Mix of shops
    • Allow more restaurants, cafes and non-shop uses into the town centre
    • Limit night-time uses to certain areas (see figure 5).
    • Street markets may be moved to an area designated for market stalls
    • Review town centre's one-way system
    • Better directional signage
    • Restrict parking and deliveries (deliveries only early mornings)
    Peckham and Nunhead heritage (see figure 6)
    • New development must be of a high quality of design
    • New development should protect the character and appearance of Peckham and Nunhead's heritage. This would result in more uniformity in the character of buildings within the setting of conservation areas and listed buildings.
    Factors impacting on development and the success of Peckham and Nunhead Area Action PlanScale of development
    • Allow an increased scale of development on all large development sites
    • Allow increase in floor space
    Building heights
    • Taller buildings allowed on specific sites (see figure 7)
    • Allow increase in heights on specific existing buildings
    • Infill single storey shop fronts.
    Affordable business space
    • Increase in commercial development to provide affordable business space
    Better streets and public spaces
    • New paving and street furniture
    • Improved lighting to provider safer areas
    • New shop fronts
    • Improved walking and cycling routes
    • Improved open spaces and community facilities
    Natural environment
    • Greener spaces created by planting trees in town centre
    • New developments complying with the highest environmental standards
    Use of specific sites in Peckham and Nunhead

    A large proportion of land in Peckham and Nunhead is privately owned and it should be negotiated by using the area action plan what should be built where.

    It is not to say that development should not take place elsewhere in the action area, however the focussed development should be within the core area and these developments should meet the highest standards set out by policies regarding height, scale, pollution and traffic impact.

    Peckham and Nunhead area action plan identified key sites to be developed and kick-start interest in the area and set an example for development on other sites. This would change the negative perception of Peckham and Nunhead and make it a desirable place to live and work in.

    Key sites have been indentified for the following reasons:
    • Sites are vacant
    • Land-use of existing site no-longer required
    • Size of site allows development
    • Site provides opportunity for regeneration for the area
    Potential development sitesSite 1: Choumert Grove car park

    Key design considerations:

    • In close proximity of listed buildings: 11, 11a, and walls, gates and railings to Girdlers Almshouses on Choumert Grove.
    • Site adjoins Holy Grove Conservation Area
    • Site presently used as a car park
    • Relationship with existing housing around the site needs to be considered carefully to maintain amenity and environmental quality for residents.

    Key opportunities:

    • To provide community uses that meets the requirements of adjoining residents, or
    • To provide residential uses
    • Part of car parking can be retained to negate parking shortages in the area.
    Site 2: Industrial land off Copeland Road and Bournemouth Road (see figure 9)

    Key design considerations:

    • Size of the industrial site
    • Present land-uses of the site
    • Neighbouring residential properties
    • Potentially being utilised as a depot for the future cross river tram

    Key opportunities:

    • Regeneration of the industrial site as it is a poor and derelict state
    • Provide mix uses including artist's studios, exhibition space, a venue for cultural events and small business units
    • Provide housing on the site
    • Provide parking
    • Create better links to surrounding areas
    • 10-15 storey landmark building opportunity
    Site 3: Land between the railway line north of site 2, including railway arches (see figure 9)

    Key design considerations:

    • Site forms part of the town centre
    • Present land-uses of the site
    • Neighbouring residential properties
    • Potentially being utilised as a depot for the future cross river tram
    • Close to Peckham Rye Station

    Key opportunities:

    • Regeneration of the industrial site as it is a poor and derelict state
    • Provide mix uses including light industrial, business start up units and community uses including places of worship
    • Create better links to surrounding areas
    Site 4: Peckham Rye Station and surrounding land (see figure 10)

    Key design considerations:

    • Network Rail proposed to refurbish and upgrade the station.
    • Removing of existing shop fronts
    • Creating a public square in front of the station
    • The square would be lined with cafes, shops and commercial uses
    • Relocating of existing users

    Key opportunities (if Network Rail is not successful in their proposal):

    • Refurbish and improve the arcade and allow shops, restaurants and cafes.
    • Upgrade the existing public space between the arcade and station building.
    • Create a new courtyard between the railway lines surrounded by restaurants, cafes, commercial and cultural uses.
    Site 5: Copeland Road car park and land on the corner of Copeland Road and Rye Lane

    Key design considerations:

    • Site presently used as a car park
    • Relationship with existing housing around the site needs to be considered carefully to maintain amenity and environmental quality for residents.
    • Potentially being utilised as a depot for the future cross river tram

    Key opportunities:

    • To provide residential uses
    • Provide small business units
    • Provide community uses
    • Provide parking
    • 4-7 storey landmark building opportunity
    Site 7 : Bellenden Road Retail Park including Lidl site

    Key design considerations:

    • In close proximity of listed buildings: 8-14, 16-18 and the Post Office Depot on Highshore Road
    • Site adjoins Holy Grove Conservation Area
    • Site presently used as a retail park
    • Relationship with existing housing around the site needs to be considered carefully to maintain amenity and environmental quality for residents.

    Key opportunities:

    • Possible site for new cinema, it the cinema is not located on sites 6, 8 of 10.
    • Possible music venue if not developed on site 10.
    • Or, mix uses including shops, housing and small business units
    • 7-12 storey landmark building opportunity
    Site 8: Aylesham Centre

    Key design considerations:

    • Site presently used as a commercial centre including Safeway and other mix uses
    • Relationship with existing housing around the site needs to be considered carefully to maintain amenity and environmental quality for residents.

    Key opportunities:

    • Mixed uses, including new shopping centre, car parking, leisure and entertainment uses.
    • Provision of high density housing.
    • Possible site for new cinema
    • 10-15 storey landmark building opportunity
    Site 10: Peckham Square and Eagle Wharf site

    Key design considerations:

    • Large site with mix uses including Peckham Library, shops, restaurants and offices with residential above
    • Peckham Square also utilised for market stalls.
    • Potentially being utilised for the future cross river tram

    Key opportunities:

    • Regeneration of the square including cafes and restaurants around the edge.
    • Cultural uses including theatre, music venue and exhibition space.
    • Space for artists on the Eagle Wharf site
    • Residential use on the Eagle Wharf site
    • Possible site for the cinema

    The following documents and websites were used in the production of this document:

    • Guy, Clifford (2007) Planning for retail development: A critical view of the British Experience by Routledge
    • Estate Gazette 26 February 2000, Which future do you buy? (Article)
    • Urban Environment Today 7 march 2002, Helping new retail fit into the urban form (Article)
    • Town & Country Planning April 2005, Crises? What crises? (Article by Cliff Guy)
    • Department of Communities and Local Government, cities and Regions, sustainable Regeneration (N.D) [online] Available from
    • Elephant and Castle regeneration program introduction (2009) [online] Available from
    • London Borough of Southwark (2008), Supplementary planning document, The enterprise quarter
    • Department for Communities and local Government, 2006 : Planning Policy Statement 3 Housing
    • London Borough of Southwark, 2007: Southwark Plan 2007
    • London Plan 2006, Greater London Authority
    • London Borough of Tower Hamlets, City Fringe Area Action Plan, October 2007
    • London Borough of Bromley, Orpington Town Centre Master Plan, March 2008