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Camberwell and my life in it

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  • Dagmar: Their sell-by section was second to none. I hope they still operate it.
  • PK36: The new Co-Op looks great – hopefully will inspire Morrisons to smarten up a bit!
  • PK36: The Bakerloo Line Extension consultation report was released today: https://consultations.tfl.g...
  • eusebiovic: You want a Travelodge in Camberwell? That organization must be responsible for the most dismal,...
  • eusebiovic: Camberwell Cars are good as are Dulwich Cars – both reliable and inexpensive…


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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.

Camberwell Co-Op reopening 27 March 2015

Written by | 9 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!

9 Comments » . March 25th, 2015. Filed under General

Free Film, Cheap Comedy, Prizewinning Photography

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This year’s Free Film Festival begins on Thursday, 19th March and runs for eleven days, showing 19 films at 18 venues. There are films for families (The Lego Movie, Frozen), old classics (The Night of the Hunter, Pretty in Pink), documentaries (The Punk Singer, Finding Vivian Maier)… it’s pretty unlikely there won’t be anything to your taste. My recommendation is Two Days, One Night, showing at The Crooked Well, but you can find the full schedule at the FFF website.

On the subject of events, there’s a new comedy club in town. Called Up In Arms, it takes place monthly above The Camberwell Arms (hence the name). I heard that it’s organised by the comedy editor of Time Out, so manages to get some quite well-known names on the circuit — the first one, this month, had Tim Key and Stuart Francis, and next month’s will feature Nick Helm. Tickets are pretty cheap, and available now.

The Friends of Ruskin Park have announced this year’s photography competition will take the theme ‘Park Life’ (how unexpected!). First prize winner will get a year’s membership of the Tate galleries, with cash and voucher prizes also on offer.

Update: The team at Camberwell Arts Festival say:

Plans for Camberwell Arts Festival are underway! Keep 20th-28TH JUNE 2015 free in your diaries. The 2015 Festival theme is: FEAST. We want this year’s festival to be a feast for the senses, a feast for the soul and a feast for the stomach! It’s time to celebrate not just about the diverse range of food that attracts people to Camberwell, but also the cultural feast of art and creativity.

GET INVOLVED! Whether you’re an artist with idea for a commission, you want to be part of the Open Studio weekend, you’re a fringe partner with a event that could happen during the festival and would like marketing support, a local organisation that just wants to be involved, or a local business who would like to sponsor us… get in touch with us.

In food news, The Hill Bakery has opened and is already a huge success — I tried twice on Saturday and they had sold out both times. I’m hoping for a bit of better luck this weekend. Update: I managed to buy a loaf today. It was properly tasty. But they really need to find a way to meet the weekend demand.

9 Comments » . March 12th, 2015. Filed under Eating & Drinking, Events

Camberwell’s View of St Paul’s: Update

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Last year I wrote about the threat to the view of St Paul’s Cathedral from Camberwell Road posed by the developer Delancey, which is proposing to build 3 towers at 185 Park Street, next to the Tate Modern.

Thanks to objections from Camberwell residents, Delancey was required to give specific consideration of the impact of its proposal on this view of St Paul’s when it came to its application for planning permission.

In late autumn the company submitted an application. Its proposal is still for 3 towers, the tallest of which will be 20 stories. It is a mixed office and residential scheme. Delancey do not propose to build any affordable housing on the site because the current design does not allow for the separate entrance the company believes this would require, and because residents would not be able to afford the service charges.

The Townscape, Heritage and Visual Impact Assessment shows the towers would have a highly detrimental effect on the quality of this view (p.35).

The current view includes the entire drum, dome and lantern of St Paul’s, which will be framed by the Elephant Park scheme once complete. Indeed, the masterplan for Elephant Park was shaped by a desire to preserve this view. The proposed development would obscure nearly all of the drum and part of the dome, and as such the view would be destroyed.

Bizarrely, the developer describes this as only “minor” harm to the view.

Although the deadline for objections closed just before Christmas, Southwark Council will still accept responses up to the point at which it reaches a decision. The SE5 Forum has also proposed protecting this view in its draft submission to the consultation on the New Southwark Plan. Please can I encourage you to comment on the application, or write to planning.​applications@​southwark.​gov.​uk to object to application 14-AP-3842.

9 Comments » . March 2nd, 2015. Filed under Development

All Change On Camberwell Green

Written by | 66 Comments.

After what feels like years of discussions and focus groups, planning permission has finally been presented for Camberwell Green. More on this in a bit, but other plans are afoot too.

Theoretically, work on pocket spaces and specifically Datchelor Place (home to Flying Fish and Pigeon Hole) will be pedestrianised before the end of this financial year (Take heed Southwark Council: April 5th. Get a move on). After this one is done, there’s still a quite a few other pocket spaces to do too. The very successful Camberwell Arts Christmas Market showed what can be done there if given the space and the resources.

The New Camberwell Library

The New Camberwell Library

The new library is taking shape nicely too. Whilst I have been quite vocal in my disgust at a (Labour run) Southwark Council sham of a “consultation” and the destruction of the orchard, the library itself looks good from the outside and I hope that we get something that we can be proud of. I love the type font for the front of the building. The new library sits on the edge of Camberwell Green, between the green and the Magistrates’ Court.

Which brings me neatly onto the plans for Camberwell Green.

On the whole I think the plans sympathetically take into account the history of the Green whilst giving it a much needed and welcome upgrade. Thought has been given to allow people clear paths to the library and beyond, to the court and even Burgess Park. However, there are some aspects that I am not so keen on. Below is a screen grab from one of the many planning permission documents. You can see all of the documents here: Southwark Planning Website

Camberwell Green Overview of plans

Camberwell Green Overview of proposed plans


In the plus column:

  • The green will retain some of the historical features such as the original gateposts, the ancient pathways, the war memorial and the Sidney Bates memorial bench. I hadn’t really noticed the gateposts before, but I am glad they are being restored.
    Camberwell Green

    Original pathways and most of the mature trees to be retained.

    Camberwell Green Gatepost
    Original Gateposts to be restored and retained.
  • Most of the trees are to be kept, including the lovely massive one that overhangs the pathway by the loo (see below for more about the loo). At the same time, more trees will be planted, including disease resistant elm trees to replace some of the trees in the future.
  • The railings will now be kept around most of the Green. (The original designs took these away to make it less pleasant to stop people hanging around there being “anti-social” i.e. street drinkers, but without thinking it might make it less pleasant for everyone else as well!)
  • The playground has been moved to the north end of the green. I think this makes for a better, larger connected open space rather than two spaces divided by the playground.
  • The south east side of the green will be extended to take in part of the road in front of the Peabody Estate. This will be used for the farmer’s market and other events. I think it makes sense to bring the market to a more obvious position. Hopefully this will help the market traders and customers.

    Future Location of the Farmer's Market.

    Future Location of the Farmer’s Market.

  • The borders of the green on Camberwell Church St and Camberwell Road will be filled with flowers and wild meadows to create a buffer zone between the green and the traffic.
  • There are also several “feature walls”, near the borders, some of which will also contain seating.
  • And finally, there will be a pedestrian crossing from the green to Camberwell Passage. As someone who crosses the road here all the time to catch the bus, I know this is a really helpful thing. (I hope they don’t make it too frustrating for traffic though. If it’s a pelican crossing that takes for ever for the green man, often people have crossed already meaning drivers have to pointlessly wait while nobody crosses!)

On the down side:

  • The toilet. Yes, THE TOILET! It screams: “Welcome to Camberwell, it’s full of s**t!”. Apparently this toilet, that sits at the crossroads to the green (where a beautiful water feature of another type used to sit, see pics below) has to stay because the bus drivers need it. I’m sorry, but I have never once seen a bus driver, or anyone else use this toilet, except on the rare occasions when there are big events on the green. If it has to be kept (and I do not think it’s worth it personally) a much better solution would be to have it near the farmer’s market area, in a more discreet position. Not with the door opening onto a busy crossroads where everyone can see you! (Apparently cost is preventing this. See below for my solution).
Welcome to Camberwell Green. It's a bit shit.

Welcome to Camberwell Green. It’s a bit s**t.

Note the old water fountain that pre-dates the current water feature!

Note the old water fountain at the entrance to the Green that pre-dates the current water feature!

  • I don’t like the new street lights that are proposed. I think they will date very quickly and the ones we have currently are a much better design for the green. Maybe the money saved by not buying new street lights could be used to pay for moving the turdis (a.k.a. the toilet).
Existing Lamp Posts

Existing Lamp Posts. Pigeon Optional.


Proposed Lamp Posts for Camberwell Green.

Proposed Lamp Posts for Camberwell Green. Man with briefcase optional.


So what now?

What do you think? Do you like the plans? What do you want to see changed, even at this late stage?

As well as adding your comments below, if you want to show your support or opposition to the plans (see full details of all the documents and plan here) you should email Southwark’s Planning department quoting planning reference 14/AP/4537. Send your emails to: planning.​consultation@​southwark.​gov.​uk.

A note on the Southwark website says: “Please make sure that you state the application number and your postal address. Comments that you submit will be published on this website for others to see”, so make sure you do this.

And if you want to make a fuss (dare I say a “Sh*tstorm”?) about the toilet plans, get in touch. Let’s march!

66 Comments » . January 17th, 2015. Filed under Activism, Development, General, Guest Author, History, Places