We have always valued our public spaces, however since March they have taken on new significance. They are our source of exercise, contemplation and connection, both to nature and to each other. But our shared neighbourhood spaces are increasingly contested. As we pour into our parks they are eroding, while our quieter neglected pocket spaces have become targets for fly-tipping.
Investment in the Queens Road to Bidwell Street section
Given the context and the challenges, we are thrilled to share some good news. The Peckham Coal Line has secured grants from Southwark Council and the GLA to connect Queens Road with Kirkwood Nature Reserve. The two are a mere 200 metres apart but were separated in the 1960s by a concrete wall. They are connected by Bidwell Street, currently a dead-end road which has increasingly become a dumping ground. This will be opened up, creating a direct pedestrian and cycle link from the existing nature reserve to the businesses and the station at Queens Road. New footways, planting and wayfinding will reveal and celebrate the trees and wildlife in this space.
We are yet to invite or appoint designers and we are asking you to join us as we embark on this journey. We want your ideas, but we also want you to help us be the driving force behind what happens in our neighbourhood. To kick this off, we’re running two events in collaboration with South East Salon, on Monday 25th January at 7pm and Saturday 30th January at 3pm. If you’d like to hear more about the plans, ideas and how to get involved, sign up and join us.
Stable Yard Update
The ambition of the Coal Line has allowed us to influence in places that we couldn’t individually, but the project is also a source of learning and local social connection. When working with developers and stakeholders it is sometimes challenging to square different values and objectives, but we are proud that we have allowed our collective voice to steer the plans at the Stable Yard site. Last year we asked you what you’d like to be incorporated as part of the development of the Stable Yard. Planting was a key interest, and later this year this part of the route will open with planting, seating and a community growing garden.
Coal Drops Yard
Further down the line by Rye Lane, the owners of the railway arches, ArchCo, are currently contesting the new Southwark Plan for the Coal Drops site (currently a scaffold yard). Your lobbying secured the Coal Line as a vital local asset at the heart of our community. However the developers are already trying to circumnavigate this by imposing plans, decisions and a predetermined outcome on us, without any consultation. This will inevitably limit local benefit. A public hearing will take place in March so we’ll keep you updated as the plans unfold. If our invitation to work in partnership is not taken up, we may need to mobilise as a community once again.
The Peckham Coal Line team