Many people have expressed surprise about the way that Labour councillors have slipped a new sentence into the council’s ‘Area Vision' for Camberwell, Peckham and the Old Kent Road.
The new sentence reads: ‘The Camberwell (Peckham/Old Kent Road) Area Vision will provide as many homes as possible, while respecting the local character of the area. There may be opportunities for taller buildings on key development sites in appropriate locations.’
Wells Way resident Donnachadh McCarthy said the new phrasing 'means we would have ZERO legal grounds to oppose ANY skyscraper in future in Camberwell & Peckham, no matter what the height or where the location'.
He drew attention to comments by Cllr Mark Williams at a meeting of the Wells Way Triangle Residents and Tenants Association in June 2017. Cllr Williams said that he could see new blocks of up to 12 storeys being built in Camberwell and Peckham, and that he had been in negotiations with Peachtree Developers to build a 20-storey skyscraper beside Burgess Park. (In December 2017, Peachtree presented proposals for a 14-storey development.)
Local Green campaigner Atus Mariqueo-Russell says: ‘This major change in policy is being pushed through without proper consultation. And if local people can’t afford to live in these new towers, they won’t help our housing crisis. We know that time and time again Labour-controlled Southwark has failed to make private developers keep their promises on affordable housing.’
The current Southwark Plan states:
5.114 In the wrong locations tall buildings can be overbearing and out of character. They also need very good access to public transport to support the numbers of people who live and work in them. For these reasons, the locations that could accommodate tall buildings are limited to the area around London Bridge Station east of Borough High Street, Elephant and Castle and the northern end of Blackfriars Road. The core part of Peckham, Canada Water and Aylesbury action areas could also be suitable for tall buildings as these areas also have good transport links and have large development opportunities.
Fact box: Tall Buildings
Tall buildings are those which are higher than 30 metres (or 25 metres in the Thames Policy Area) and/or which signiﬁcantly change the skyline. 30 metres is approximately the height of a 10 storey block of ﬂats or a 7-10 storey ofﬁce building. In areas which have a low scale character, any building that is signiﬁcantly higher than surrounding buildings will be regarded as a tall building even if it is lower than 30 metres.