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Council drops proposal to redevelop PeckhamPlex and multi-storey, in victory for local campaigners

Proposals to redevelop Peckhamplex and multi-storey carpark have been abandoned by Southwark Council.

The council had earmarked the site in its draft New Southwark Plan (NSP) as a location for a new tower block with 83 flats, and ground-floor businesses.

The finished NSP will contain plots of land across Southwark for “potential” redevelopment in the “long term”. But it was speculated that redevelopment of the carpark and cinema would follow 2022, as popular businesses Frank’s Café and the soon-to-open Peckham Levels had leases due to expire in 2021-22.

Sealing the deal, the council has said the multi-storey will not appear in the next draft of the NSP, which will be put to vote by Southwark’s cabinet members on October 31.

Yesterday, councillor Mark Williams, cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, said: “As an unused car park we thought this site had more potential through re-development.

“However following extensive consultation with local residents and recognising the fantastic work carried out by Bold Tendencies and Peckhamplex, and with the exciting new project at Peckham Levels, we have decided to secure the future of this site in its current form for the longer term.

“The council has been working closely with the three main cultural organisations using the car park to agree longer-term leases, paving the way for the building to remain a key part of the cultural activity that has put Peckham in the creative heart of the borough, and London.”

An artist’s impression of the forthcoming Peckham Levels project

The council’s turnaround followed dedicated campaigning from local pressure group Peckham Vision, who gathered more than 5,000 objections to the redevelopment via its website, during a public consultation on the NSP in the spring.

John Reiss, chairman at Peckhamplex, also said the potential redevelopment had been postponed for “at least 20 years”.

“Peckhamplex is delighted that the long-time uncertainty over redevelopment of the multi-storey former car park has been postponed for at least 20 years. This will allow the directors to consider investment in the multiplex to enhance the offering to our loyal customers,” John said.

In 2014, Eileen Conn of Peckham Vision succeeded in getting a government planning inspector to intervene in the council’s proposals to knock down the multi-storey.

A report by the inspector said the council’s plans were “unsound” as he believed the cinema and Frank’s Café “would permanently cease operations in the locality” should redevelopment of the site take place. Her report also called on the council to explore the site’s “full potential”.

In September, Eileen submitted an Asset of Community Value application for the multi-storey to Southwark Council. The application is still pending.


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