Hello Coal Line supporters and friends.
Why the lack of a recent update? In the months since our feasibility launch last June, local and national government focus and resource has continued to be channelled away from local community driven projects. We believe the Peckham Coal Line is now more important than ever as we come together to physically improve our neighbourhood links while connecting different communities in the face of social cuts.
You may remember in June 2017 part of the route was acquired by a housing developer, threatening our planned linear park. Thanks to your collective action we were able to bring the developer (Bluecroft) to the table and work out a plan that would benefit both the local area and residents, while safeguarding the route. Since then, rather than develop the site, Bluecroft has sold the Stable Yard through closed private sale to a new developer – Picfare Homes. Again this was done without offering PCL the opportunity to come up with an alternative community plan. To their credit the new developers invited us to a meeting to discuss the changes they wanted to make to the originally agreed plans.
While the talks were constructive, there was a distinct lack of awareness of the previous work and input of PCL. Southwark Council’s planning department has consented, through pre-application advice, to changes that do not fit with the aims and objectives of PCL, with more of a focus on short-term profit than realising the site’s potential for future residents and the wider community.
Our fear remains that the quality of the originally agreed plans that we collectively worked so hard to achieve is watered down, losing the ideals of preservation, aesthetics and the importance of the site as a community asset.
PCL is a community-run charity and Southwark Council has consistently given its support to the project. As such we have written to the Council and made clear how important this site is, stressing the need for the Council’s own planning and regeneration teams to work together to support us and Picfare to deliver a development that meets your high standards and which engages the community. We hold high aspirations for our area and Picfare has said that it understands that. We will hold them to that. We hope you – the wider PCL community – will too.
We expect the developers to resubmit new plans in the coming weeks and will keep you posted on developments. What we did before was amazing and this time we are even better prepared. So please be ready to make some noise, should the revised plans not deliver the same benefits to the PCL and the wider community as the previously approved plans.
In other news we have secured permission from the Council as part of a Cleaner Greener Safer grant to close off the end of Kirkwood Road under the railway bridge to traffic. This will create an area of planting, accessible to pedestrians, at the entrance to the nature reserve to replace the fly-tipping hotspot local residents currently endure.
Thank you for your continued support – we have to keep up the momentum and energy but together and little by little we can make this happen.
The PCL Team.