Successfully reported this slideshow.

REGENERATION: FRIEND OR FOE? How has the regeneration of Peckham affected the area’s sustainability?


Published on

Feasibility study looking at the sustainability of Peckham Town Centre. It looks at how the regeneration of this part of Peckham sparked the development of the area as whole and considers how it has contributed towards the rise of its status within London.

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

REGENERATION: FRIEND OR FOE? How has the regeneration of Peckham affected the area’s sustainability?

  1. 1. Sadiqa JabbarFDA2 Green Engineering andEnvironmental Design Project2003REGENERATION: FRIEND OR FOE?How has the regeneration of Peckham affected the area’ssustainability?
  2. 2. REGENERATION: FRIEND OR FOE?SynoposisHistory of PeckhamTransportLocal CommunityLocal EcologyPollutionEnergy UtilisedSustainable Future?CONTENTS2
  3. 3. SYNOPOSISFor a long time Peckham was under developed and apasser-by may have just driven straight through the areawithout giving it another thought. However, a few yearsago Southwark Council decided that enough was enoughand eventually began a redevelopment programme toupdate the area and bring it into the twenty-first century.The area of study within this project is Peckham Squareand the immediate surrounding area. This incorporatesthe Peckham Library, Peckham Pulse (a fitness centre)and the linear park and the Square beneath the Arch(see annotated map). This area has seen a completeredevelopment within the past few years, which hasraised the morale of the people who reside in Peckham;thus conveying that Peckham is not a ‘dump inhabitedwith low lives’.The point of this study is to find out what has changedwithin the area, how, and what resources have beenutilised. How much embodied energy has been used?Is it possible to use less energy within the area and stillfunction as normal? In doing so, the following will need tobe examined:• the effect on the local community i.e. health, lifestyleand amenities• local ecology i.e. what happened to the trees, plantsand grass areas?• pollution levels created by the development i.e. noise,chemical (if at all) and vehicle• the provision of transportIn order to explore the area, various resources willneed to be gathered such as images of the area beforeand after the regeneration programme, recordingsof the traffic and the number of people, the Farmers’market and the local ecology. Primary sources, suchas first hand research, and secondary sources, such asthe Environment Department of Southwark Council,the local studies library, the RIBA, and the Internet arepossible forms of research for this investigation.Aerial map of Peckham Town CentreDiagrammatic map of Peckham Town Centre siteHow has the regeneration of Peckham affected the area’s sustainability? 3
  4. 4. REGENERATION: FRIEND OR FOE?OSmap of thesite courtesy ofDigimap, 2003 (nts- original 1:1250)Overview of the site from behind the library4
  5. 5. HISTORY OF PECKHAMHow has the regeneration of Peckham affected the area’s sustainability?The name ‘Peckham’ derives from two Old Englishwords, “peac” meaning ‘hill’, and “ham” meaning‘village’. It roughly translates to “village by a hill”. It wasfirst mentioned in the Domesday Book between 1085and 1087 as ‘Pechecha’, a small plain of two acres ofmeadow.In John Rocque’s 1750 map of the area, Peckham was asmall Surrey village, most of which was clustered aroundthe High Street. The village had been used as a last stopover for cattle drovers who were on their way to theLondon markets. It allowed the animals to graze one lasttime before being sold. At the north end of Old KentRoad a gas works company was situated on the bankside.By 1842, according to Dewhirst’s map, many houses andbuildings were constructed. However the land was stillvery much used for cultivation and garden markets.By the 1870s more land was developed; streets wereformed and buildings were constructed. During thisperiod the first Ordnance Survey at a large scale wasundertaken. More and more people were moving awayfrom London’s overcrowded inner-city into suburbslike Peckham where the air was fresh and the waterclean. London was rapidly growing the populationincreased from 865,000 in 1801 to 4.5 million in 1901.Consequently, Peckham was fast becoming part of themetropolis, and as Peckham Registration Sub District itgrew from 12,563 in 1841 to 93,033 by 1901.By the second half of the twentieth century, little landwas left in the heart of Peckham as many houses hadbeen built to cater for the rising population. Amongthe buildings constructed two were breweries situatedon the High Street. The gas works and timber yardssituated along the canal head provided local employment;positions for boatmen also arose. Before its rapidurbanisation, Peckham had been quite a rich suburb. Butdue to population growths leading to densification andovercrowding, the area’s wealth deteriorated.Consort Road (Albert Road as it was then) used to befields, workers used to travel to the city centre for workbecause of cheap workmen’s fares on the railways. Butby the 1880s, industries were moving away from thecentre out to the suburbs thus creating more grid-likestreet patterns. More roads were being constructed thataided specialist services in and around Peckham. RyeLane was fast becoming the main shopping area, takingthe glory away from the High Street. During this periodmany schools were being established although manyDewhirst map of the Parish of Camberwell, 1842Ordnance Survey map, 19145
  6. 6. were private.In 1750 people mostly travelled by foot, horseback orby horse-drawn carriages. By1825 coaches were inuse although omnibuses overtook them in the 1830s,as more passengers were able to travel within themat lower fares. After the introduction of railways, thisbecame the most efficient form of transport as onecould travel faster and further. The twentieth centurybrought better transport as trams, trains, and buses weredeveloped. London Transport’s first post-war bus garageopened in Peckham in 1951 but it was later demolishedin 1995/6 to make way for Safeway’s extension. ThePeckham branch of the Grand Surrey Canal opened in1826 and was used to transport industrial materials suchas coal, timber, and road metal. Whitten Timber Ltdhas been along Canal Head for the last eighty-two yearsselling various types of softwood.Improvements within the transport industry sawPeckham’s population decline in the early twentiethcentury. This meant that more people were able totravel further distances resulting in many commuting forwork in the centre from the outskirts of the city. The1914 Ordnance Survey map shows the extent to whichthe area was becoming densely populated. Emphasis onpublic services was rising; on July 9 1925 a fire stationopened along Peckham Road (it was the first to introduceshift work schedules in London), a number of cinemasand theatres opened and closed in various locations, andin 1935 the Pioneer Health Centre opened on St Mary’sRoad. Small parks were created within residential areasso that people had access to open spaces much closer tohome.Residential development comprised the introductionof flats to replace the old Victorian houses as thearea became denser and the need for more housingdue to the bombing during the Second World War.Consequently the 1960s and 1970s saw the rise in theconstruction of council estates. Southwark Council wasestablished in 1965 and took jurisdiction over Peckhamfrom Camberwell Council. This created problems in thelong run as the notorious North Peckham Estate proved.The design of the North Peckham Estate was illconceived. Difficult access to local amenities isolated theresidents from the ‘outside’ world. The long concretewalkways fostered crime due to the lack of visibilityand vigilance. This resulted in the neglecting of estatemaintenance and the consequent run down appearanceRye Lane and Peckham High Street junctionSome of the housing that replaced the North Peckham EstateA linear park replaced the canal when it was filled in 1972 andremains in good conditionREGENERATION: FRIEND OR FOE?6
  7. 7. of the blocks. Southwark Council recognised the need forredevelopment and in 1995 a seven-year regenerationprogramme began to demolish the estate and replace itwith open terraced houses and gardens (in sharp contrastto the dingy, dark, isolating estate of the past).The regeneration programme included the developmentof Peckham Town Centre, the shopping areas, and theTown Square (Peckham Arch, Peckham Library andPeckham Pulse - the first healthy living centre in Britain).The Peckham Library marked the end of the regenerationprogramme and won the RIBA Stirling Award for ArchitectureThe regeneration incorporated the development of the clear openspace on the square comprising modern landscape designThe Peckham Pulse fitness centre opened in 1999How has the regeneration of Peckham affected the area’s sustainability? 7
  8. 8. LOCAL COMMUNITYREGENERATION: FRIEND OR FOE?The Peckham Arch was constructed in 1995 to mark the entranceinto the SquarePeckhamites have had a boost of confidence due to theregeneration of Peckham Town Centre. The area ismore aesthetically pleasing that evokes a sense of pride.No part of the site is particularly overcrowded whichmay lend itself to the low levels of crime. With CCTVin operation, a safer neighbourhood environment ispromoted. These could lend a hand to lifting Peckhamout of its notorious reputation.The Peckham Library and Peckham Pulse havecreated more local amenities for residents. The Pulseprovides health and fitness amenities for people of allages promoting a healthier lifestyle for a resident ornon-residents alike. Both of these buildings promotePeckham. They allow more youth activities encouragingyoung people off the streets and out of trouble.The Library has a learning centre that enables theunemployed to develop new skills assisting to improvetheir employability and career prospects.The design of the buildings also encourages youngchildren and adults alike to enjoy using the facilities andspaces. The Library facilitates IT equipment allowinglow-cost Internet access, free for school children doinghomework.The Peckham Square provides an open space inPeckham that feels quite rare in a mainly residentialarea. It acts as a meeting place, a space for socialising,recreational activities or just perhaps for some peaceand quiet. Although peace and quiet may be difficult toachieve as two major transport routes surround theSquare. The Linear Park is more ideal for tranquillityas no major roads surround it and is relatively morepeaceful. As traffic is not permitted within the area,people are free to walk or jog without worrying aboutpassing vehicles. One can walk all the way to BurgessPark by following the park’s route.The site is utilised as a throughway where pedestrianscan walk through to access Peckham Hill Street, PeckhamHigh Street, Ryle Lane or one of the two residentbuildings. One can also access the site via a gateway intothe adjacent residential to the East. Some residents canoverlook part of the site from their windows.The Peckham Arch and Peckham Library’s upper floorsprovide shelter from adverse weather. The spacesbelow the structures provided shelter from rain/sleet/snow and shade from the sun. Below the Arch weekendmarkets operate; the Arts and Craft market on Saturdays,Some of the produce on sale at the Farmers’ MarketFarmers’ Market held on site every Sunday mornings8
  9. 9. How has the regeneration of Peckham affected the area’s sustainability?and the Farmers’ Market on Sundays. The low-risingsteps improve accessibility for people of all agesfrom the elderly, young children to people of variousdisabilities. Ramps enable easier access for wheelchairs orpushchairs.Bicycle racks are provided in front of the Library toencourage the use of cycles and/or public transport toreduce congestion on the Peckham roads.Bicycle racks in the SquareSeating and shelter beneath the Library9
  10. 10. LOCAL ECOLOGYREGENERATION: FRIEND OR FOE?Residential property adjacent to the Linear ParkThe Park’s pathway follows the route of the canal leading to BurgessParkThe natural and artificial barrier between the Linear Park andresidential areaParks were constructed during various stages of history tocreate social and recreational spaces for social interaction.The site consists of an area designated to a Linear Parkover the route of the Peckham branch of the GrandSurrey Canal. The Park is landscaped with bands of trees,foliage, and a pathway running along the boundary to theresidential area. It creates a pleasant environment, awayfrom the hustle and bustle of the Town Centre. The Parkallows some free space for locals to experience a nature.The Linear Park in a way makes up for the land built-overto replace the canal, Peckham got back an element ofnature albeit man-made.However one has to consider the environmental impactsleft by the canal when the Park was created. The soilmay be contaminated with disease and chemicals fromthe construction process. Diseases created by peopleand objects falling into the water and cases of deathby drowning leading to the gradual degradation of thewater quality. Therefore the canal water is likely to havebecome contaminated. One must also consider the factthat the living conditions in Victorian Britain were verypoor within densely populated areas.Industries such as timber, coal and building materialswere located along the bank so as to take advantage ofthe water transport linking to the Surrey Docks. It is apossibility that chemicals and produce owned by thesebusinesses may have been thrown into the canal byaccident or foul play. Consequently this will have a likelyimpact on the quality of soil on which the Linear Park wasbuilt.Before the construction of the canal, the area had beenused to cultivation and garden markets. Consequently theamount of land available for people to cultivate their ownproduce was reduced. Peckham’s location between thebustling city of London and the countryside, meant that itwas inevitable that it would become part of the growingmetropolis; especially at a time when people wereleaving the city for a cleaner and fresher environment tolive. Even so the banks of the canal were still able to becultivated with fresh water (perhaps when initially built) toirrigate the crops.The site boundary comprises two major busy roads,Peckham High Street and Peckham Hill Street, to theSouth and West and the residential area to the East. Tomake the area safe it has been pedestrianised allowancesonly for maintenance and emergency vehicles. The areaalso allows safe access for cyclists; bike racks in front of10
  11. 11. How has the regeneration of Peckham affected the area’s sustainability?Rich shrubbary along the Linear Park areaUnused area adjacent to the site beyond the fencethe Peckham Library encourage cycling as a mode oftransport.Before a company can consider the possibility ofdeveloping any part of the site, they have to be awarethat the area is considered to be of archaeologicalimportance. Even though no artefacts have been found, itis still considered of archaeological importance.The images on the right show an undeveloped plot ofland. It appears to be unmaintained and plants left toovergrow. It is located beyond the boundary of landwithin this study and so will not be mentioned further.11
  12. 12. POLLUTIONREGENERATION: FRIEND OR FOE?Bins provided along various parts of the sire, especially areas nearseatingLarge refuse bins located in the area in front of the LibraryPollution can occur in various forms; noise, chemical, andvehicle.Noise pollution generated by the traffic will affect thespaces in the Square closer to Peckham Hill Street andPeckham High Street. There is no barrier to filter out thenoise as it is an open space therefore it becomes difficultto hold a conversation. The Linear Park provides somerespite as the plants and fence on the West, borderingthe residential area, create an acoustic barrier. The tworesident buildings also act as noise barriers.Within the fitness centre machines and people using thegym facilities substitute the traffic noise. The PeckhamLibrary will by default be quiet any noise would filter fromthe issue desk, computers and people in other parts ofthe building.During peak times (morning and evening rush hours)vehicle pollution in the form of diesel fumes, willaffect anyone getting closer to the streets and roads.The chemicals from the fumes once inhaled could bedetrimental to a person’s health in the long run.Chemical pollution occurs as mentioned above fromcar diesel fumes flowing into the square. This form ofpollution can also occur in the form of the pollutantsfrom industrial pollutants that could still exist within thesoil that fills up the canal and forms the park. Gas worksand timber merchants were located on the banks of thecanal. If the area was dug up again, health could be atrisk if the industrial pollutants are still active. The canalarea could still be contaminated with any form of bacteriacreated from people drowning, produce falling into thewaters and the Victorian’s attitude towards cleanlinessin densely populated areas. So digging up the site couldreactivate these bacteria into the air and if coming incontact with skin the bodies of people carrying out thetask.Litter bins are provided in various parts of the site, wherethere is seating there is a litterbin close by. It would seemobvious to insert more bins in an area if there are morepeople to create environmental damage to an area.The market days are potential periods when the squarewould need some clearing up as many people attend themarkets and therefore more likely for litter and rubbish tofall to the ground.12
  13. 13. ENERGY UTILISEDHow has the regeneration of Peckham affected the area’s sustainability?Whitten Timber warehouse as seen from site with grafittied wallsVarious energy sources have been utilised within theredevelopment processes. The transportation of goodsto and from the site would use energy of the vehicles thatthe goods are carried in and the labour that undertakesthe construction and design processes also needs to beconsidered. For examples the workers who carry outthe physical labour of machine work, laying down thebricks, and constructing the buildings. The machines alsotake up energy such as lifting, digging, and demolishing.The drainage of the canal and the actual construction of itwould have used up a great deal of energy as back thenthe technology was not as advanced as it is today.The maintenance of the square and the buildings willuse up energy of the workers undertaking the care suchas emptying bin bags, brushing up the litter, cleaningup graffiti if there is any, and looking after the park bygardening regularly. No energy will used for ventilationor natural light provision as the square is out in the openand there is no need for this. However street lighting andthe like may be required for the night so that people canfeel safe walking in the dark within the area. Therefore,electricity is another form of energy used within thebuildings and street lighting on the square.Changes made over the years to change the landscape ofthe area will have accumulated a large amount of energyin various forms some of which have been discussedearlier.13
  14. 14. SUSTAINABLE FUTURE?REGENERATION: FRIEND OR FOE?Overview of the site looking from the Square with the new estates inthe backgroundI believe that the area can be sustainable for the futureas the buildings have been designed so that they havelittle impact on the environment. Compared to pastdevelopments, not a large amount of energy is likely tohave been used. The design of the square is simple andmodern. The buildings provide amenities for the localcommunity such as healthcare, academic resources,access to computers and the Internet, training for IT skillsfor those who do not have current jobs, and open spacewhich is rare in Peckham.The developers have also considered a park for localsas it creates more activities for people to do. Thewhole regeneration has assisted in the morale boost forlocals, which can be seen as just the start of improvingPeckham’s notorious reputation. The rise in house priceswithin the area suggests that the area is worth investingin. There are a range of leisure facilities in addition tothe park, fitness centre and library, such as the cinemaand the shops. The regeneration has created jobopportunities for people and invited more than the localsto inhabit the houses.There are plans to extend the East London and Bakerloolines to Peckham in order to increase public transportaccess to and from Central London. These could beenforced within the next few years. There is also aproposal for a new Peckham Wharf to be developed onthe site of the current industrial wharf, which is not inuse.14
  15. 15. REFERENCESImages:All images created by author unless stated below.Maps:Digimap, 2003, page 4Local studies Library, 2003, Dewhirst and 1914Ordnance Survey maps, page 5Multimap, 2003, aerial base map, page 3Photo:Farmers market bottom image page 8: internet search,source unknown at time of editing 2013 (possibly scan ofa Southwark newsletter photo)Links:CABE:, Jonathon;, 2002, Return of the guardian angels, (link isupdated from original used)MRV: (website nolonger holds the Peckham Town Centre Improvementsarticle)Peckham Partnership: (link no longer works)Peckham Unitary Development Plan: (link no longerworks)Southwark: (link no longer works)Southwark October 2001 Newsletter: no longer works)Sustainable Southwark: (link no longer works)Urban Catalyst (for property prices): (website has been updated since lastvisit in 2003)Documents:Southwark Council, 2003, Local Action Plan: Peckhamand NunheadHow has the regeneration of Peckham affected the area’s sustainability? 15
  16. 16. DISCLAIMER:Original report submitted in 2003 as part of a module FDA2 GreenEngineering and Environmental Design at University of Greenwich onthe BA (Hons) Architecture programme. The text has been editedwith a new report layout by the original author in 2013.www.sadiqajabbar.comsadiqajabbar@gmail.comS A D I Q A J A B B A R