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Welcome to the Camberwell Online blog, a place for free and spirited exchange on anything with even a tangential connection to the South-East London district.

A Report on the Camberwell & Peckham Hustings

Written by | 56 Comments.

My intention was to write a series of posts about the general election but I’m unfortunately preoccupied with a family tragedy and not in London (see end note). There was a hustings last night (30th April) where candidates of all parties addressed an apparently huge crowd. The @CP_Hustings Twitter account is worth reading for live reactions, and I’ve put together a report based on some detailed comments, from our own Dagmar and Monkeycat, and NHA candidate and hustings organiser, Rebecca Fox.


Excellent hustings tonight at the Liberal Club. The early arrivals were kettled in the ballroom whilst those crowded outside more comfortably had the first show.

Harriet [Harman] organised this brilliantly [Dagmar’s view; Rebecca Fox explains what actually happened]. I haven’t seen this done so well since the Chartist times. She is very worldly wise and put everyone at their ease.

Nick Wrack was big on anger, quite fiercesome. He has been very good at highlighting the export of the cheap folks to cheaper areas. He’s right — who will clean and wipe the arse of the capitalist city if they have to travel all day to get to these minimum-wage jobs? Good on Nick.

There were several candidates — the UKIP one [David Kurten] was by far the most bubbly and came over really well. Down-in-the-mouth, lifestyle lefties take note.

The Conservative candidate [Naomi Newstead] was great. She really does feel like a Camberwell/Peckham person. Loads of rent-a-sod socialists barracked her but she was gracious and decent about it, though you could tell she was proper SE5/SE15 fierce behind it.

The NHA candidate, Rebecca [Fox], was really nice but Harriet told her to speak up because they couldn’t hear at the back. This was a brilliant political move by Harriet. Anyone who says she lacks political sense is totally wrong. Both girls went to St Paul’s, the excellent girls school composed entirely of excellent head girls. So the senior head girl out-head-girled the junior one. This, to some of the salty old-stagers, was very amusing.

We can be proud in Camberwell that we have such good Labour, Conservative and UKIP candidates. There was a Whig [Felicity Anscomb] who I think is for the hipsters. The actual candidate couldn’t make it, he was on the way — from the 18th Century.


I missed you Dagmar. I honestly think we were at different events. Maybe sitting at the back, something was lost in translation.

At the hustings I went to the Tory candidate acted like a drunken, out of touch fool, who spent the night criticising the Labour council for using Tory policies to help sell off the Aylesbury and Heygate Estates. She may well have been sober but if only there were more Tory candidates like her. We would never have to worry about Cameron and his ilk getting into power ever again.

The UKIP candidate was pleasant but clueless, and struggled to understand local issues.

The best candidates by far were the Nick Wrack, from Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition, Rebecca Fox from the National Health Action Party, and Amelia Womack from the Green Party. Amelia was the only candidate all night who was neither laughed at nor heckled. I think that says a lot.

All three of them were the best prepared, understood the problems, and came up with some interesting solutions.

Harriet was patronising, couldn’t care less and really didn’t want to be there.

She even tried to say that the Labour party loved electoral reform. “Look! we introduced PR to Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the London elections. That proves we are a fair party who love PR”.

She then went on to say that every vote counted because even if you didn’t vote for her, your vote would be registered by Ofcom and somehow, as if by magic, Ofcom now have as much power as Parliament and can distribute the voice of all the little parties. Angry? There were a few people at the back who wanted to start a revolution right there and then and throw a few chairs. Me included. But I didn’t want to upset our lovely hosts at the Peckham Liberal Club.

She did try to re-organise the chairs around the stage though so we could all see the candidates. The words deckchairs and Titanic sprung to mind.

I could say more, but I’ll only get angry!

Rebecca Fox

Thanks for covering the hustings on 30 April. Glad you thought it was excellent.

I organised the event — not Harriet Harman [as an earlier draft perhaps implied]. It *would* have been great had the incumbent MP organised an opportunity for local people and other candidates to challenge her and each other, but how likely would that have been?

I was shocked at the lack of hustings — both as a local resident/ voter and a candidate (National Health Action Party) and decided to do something about it.

There’s a massive lack of accountability locally — not just at election time, but at other times. Someone told me he had not seen a meeting like this in 40 years of political involvement in Peckham. I suspect this is because we are in a safe Labour seat but how can people be truly involved in the election if there are no opportunities to see and hear from our own candidates?

The huge turnout (440 at the venue, 700+ watching live on Periscope) is a testament to the desire to be involved in *our* election.

Please tweet @CP_hustings or email cphustings@?gmail.?com if you would like to help improve local democracy and put on similar events in future.

I’m going to be largely unavailable for a few more weeks, so if anyone would like to contribute to the blog or Twitter account in my absence, please get in touch (peter@​camberwellonline.​co.​uk) or, if you’ve contributed before and have a user account, please feel free to post on your own initiative.

56 Comments » . May 1st, 2015. Filed under Politics

National Record Store Day this Sat at Rat Records Camberwell

Written by | 15 Comments.

Tomorrow, Saturday 18 April 2015, is National Record Store Day and our own Camberwell record shop: Rat Records on Camberwell New Road will be marking the day with records and DJs– see flyer below (taken from the Rat Records Facebook page)

Rat Records is always worth visiting for a browse: Camberwell is very lucky to have this shop when so many, it seems, have been forced out of business across London.

. Rat Records National Record Store Day flyer

15 Comments » . April 17th, 2015. Filed under Art, Shopping

A housing construction boom in Camberwell

Written by | 12 Comments.

Anyone travelling north or west from Camberwell cannot fail to miss the scale of development taking place in Elephant and Castle and Vauxhall at the moment. What is not so obvious is the number of projects currently underway or anticipated in Camberwell itself. A plethora of developers, housing associations, and even the Council itself are getting in on the act. Here’s a summary of the main ones just within the Camberwell Green ward.

Camberwell Fields: Notting Hill Housing Association are currently building 279 homes on Edmund Street and Southampton Way, overlooking the south west corner of Burgess Park. The development is a mix of private sale, shared ownership, and social rent, on a site formerly occupied by social housing, knocked down over 10 years ago and immortalised by two paintings on display in the Museum of London. The development recently received a rather snooty write-up from the Evening Standard, although personally I think it could have been a lot worse. Status: completion late 2015

Camberwell Road/Wyndham Road: On the corner of this junction, Parritt Leng are building 82 mixed tenure flats in five blocks, as well retail space, a gallery, and studios to replace those demolished by the development. The stretch of shops along this part of Camberwell Road appears to be really struggling at the moment. The Corrib Bar has been illegally turned into a church, while two other shops appear to have been quietly converted into studio flats by their owners. If the development creates a fillip for area it will be no bad thing, and would compensate for the Victorian buildings knocked down to clear the site. Status: under construction

Crown Street: A few metres away the same developer is also building 69 mixed tenure flats and commercial space on a slither of land between Crown Street and the railway line, formerly used mainly as a car park. Status: under construction

315–7 Camberwell New Road: On the site of the former Jono’s Snooker Hall, IDM Properties have now begun a development of 31 flats as well as a bar and a replacement snooker hall in the basement. This site has had a chequered history with planning permission having originally been granted for a smaller development with a larger proportion of social housing, but which the developer subsequently determined was not viable. Status: under construction

1–6 Camberwell Green/307–11 Camberwell New Road: On the opposite side of Camberwell Passage, Frasers Property have begun work on a development of 101 private and shared ownership apartments with eight commercial units on the ground floor on the site of the old Jobcentre and HSS hire centre. The advertising boards describe “the art of living”, though the current website suggests the development is firmly targeting the buy-to-let market. However, the ground floor commercial space from this and the above development could hopefully further increase the number of eating and drinking choices in Camberwell, currently constrained by Southwark’s planning policy that requires 50% of commercial premises in the town centre to be for retail use. Status: site cleared

272–4 and 286–304 Camberwell Road: Just next door to the previous site, Peabody housing association have had planning permission for 2 years to build 66 mixed tenure homes on land overlooking the north west corner of Camberwell Green. It is not clear when construction will begin on this site, though it appears Peabody are still seeking ancillary permissions to meet the requirements of their planning consent. Status: site cleared

240 and 252 Camberwell Road: A few steps further north, and another developer has recently been given permission for 164 homes on a site currently occupied by a theatre set company next to and behind the Nags Head pub. Ironically, the only objector was the House of Praise, which itself only recently received retrospective planning permission, having illegally converted the former bingo hall into a church (albeit one with nice lights at Christmas). Status: planning permission granted

Elmington estate: As part of the final phase of Southwark’s long-term and oft-delayed plan for the Elmington Estate, the housing association Family Mosaic is working with the developer Bellway to redevelop three sites in the area. One, on Lomond Grove, consists of 82 mixed tenure homes; another on Elmington Road consists of 89 units; and the third, on Benhill Road, includes 54 units. These are the only sites out of those listed which will see the demolition of homes to make way for the new buildings – around 180 council-owned and right-to-buy homes, many of which have fallen into a terrible state of repair in recent years. Hopefully, those people being rehoused will be moved to one of the above sites. Status: planning permission granted.

Lomond Grove: Finally, elsewhere on the Elmington estate, the Council itself has begun work on a site formerly occupied by garages to build 25 homes, the sales from 10 of which will be used to fund the provision of 15 for social rent. Status: under construction

Altogether, the various developments come to 1,042 new homes across the ward. Albeit, not all of these are additional. My estimate is that taking account of the homes that will be demolished, around 860 are additional. To place this in context, the 2011 census estimated that there were 6,179 dwellings in the ward. So if all of these come to fruition over the coming years, it will mean a 14% increase in the ward’s housing stock.


12 Comments » . April 8th, 2015. Filed under Development

Camberwell Co-Op reopening 27 March 2015

Written by | 16 Comments.

A leaflet drops through my door telling me that the Co-Op food shop at 28 — 32 Denmark Hill is set to reopen this Friday, 27 March 2015, after a refurbishment.

The shop, formerly Somerfield, and before that Kwik Save, closed around two weeks ago and I feared that we had lost it. I hope that the refurb will be along the lines of the Camberwell New Road Co-Op with a bright and airy feeling.

On the subject of Camberwell retail does anyone know what plans there are for the Peacocks site (ex-99p, ex-Woolworths) on Denmark Hill? I havent seen any signs up advertising it for rent and there doesnt seem to be any activity on the site. There was a planning application made last April to redevelop the site to provide 42 student accommodation rooms over three floors but it is unclear from the Southwark site at what stage the application is at.

With a Premier Inn being built on Coldharbour Lane in Brixton maybe there is scope for a hotel? Camberwell is on Travelodge’s list of target locations and it would be good to have a larger more mass market hotel in the area. We shall see — anything but another betting shop!

16 Comments » . March 25th, 2015. Filed under Shopping