Camberwell’s place in The New Southwark Plan

Southwark Council recently released The New Southwark Plan, a look at their intentions for the borough in the near future. Here’s what they say about Camberwell:

Camberwell will continue to be celebrated as a vibrant and distinctive town centre with a diverse and independent retail offer, an abundance of burgeoning creative and cultural industries and outstanding architectural heritage. Camberwell Green will undergo a sensitive programme of renewal to reinstate its role as the civic heart of the community. The town centre recently benefited from a refurbished leisure centre and within the plan period will benefit from public realm improvements and a new public library. Camberwell College of the Arts, the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College Hospital and the Maudsley Hospital are prestigious local institutions that fulfil the dual function of major employers, educational institutions, treatment centres and visitor attractions.

So not much new there. We know about the plans for the Green, the new library, and the street improvements. But this is interesting:

Future development within the town centre will complement the existing commercial and civic functions. Key potential regeneration areas include the Butterfly Walk shopping centre, which could be transformed into a new public square for Camberwell, and Station Road. Both of these opportunities for significant development would include an improved retail offer and potentially other town centre uses alongside new homes.

A new public square, presumably where the car park is now. And what kind of regeneration in Station Road? Something to do with the railway arches, currently occupied by garages? Much of the road is taken up by the bus garage, can’t imagine that’s going anywhere. There are, irritatingly, no further details on either plan.

There are limited opportunities to provide new homes outside the town centre, with future development in the wider Camberwell area needing to be sensitive to the existing character and contribute towards an enhanced public realm.

After the new houses where Jono’s was, and the further down Camberwell Road where the builders yard was, there really aren’t many more opportunities for new housing. Which is why I think we won’t be getting a tube station — although if you don’t agree, you can join the march this Saturday.

Update: Oops, there was a first consultation on the plan last night. Missed that, sorry.

Author: Peter

Long-time resident of Camberwell, author of this blog since July 2004.

48 thoughts on “Camberwell’s place in The New Southwark Plan”

  1. I gather Southwark Council is officially supporting both tube routes. In brief conversation with a couple of local councillors I took this to mean that development along the Old Kent Road might fund digging two tunnels, one via Camberwell and the other via OKR. They also mentioned putting pressure on Thameslink to re-open the old Camberwell station.

  2. Reopening the Thameslink at Camberwell Green seems like a no brainer. I think last time it was proposed though, Network Rail (or whoever it is) would only agree if it meant the closure of Loughborough Junction.

  3. There were two stations nearby: Camberwell (on Station Rd), and Camberwell Gate (off Walworth Rd, near Burgess Park) — you can see them on this map:

    AFAIK, both would require major investment as there is little to no remaining platform there.

  4. I remember when I was a 15 year old (in the 80’s!) at school and discussing with friends how useful it would be if the Bakerloo Line continued to Camberwell and Peckham instead of us having to get the bus from the Elephant, or walk from Kennington/Oval — even then it was quicker by shanks pony than to wait in the New Road/Walworth Road rush hour gridlock.

    Of course, we later discovered that this was nothing new and had indeed become a satirical running joke which continues to this very day.

    There are many well founded fears that perhaps our local council is only interested in the tube extension due to the real estate value for their property developer acquaintances — which of course is the plain unvarnished truth…the TFL consultation document even admits it is the MAIN reason.

    This is of course based on the assumption that the property bubble will continue forever, interest rates will remain at 0% and that the post-war baby boomer generation who run business and politics will continue to perpetuate the same highly bastardised and distorted Keynesian economic theory for eternity.

    Does anybody really think that neo-liberalism will continue to be the case in future? The cracks are already starting to show as every desperate trick in the book is used to maintain their hegemony including devaluing currency, and authorising irresponsible levels of cheap credit to people who would be much better served by a modest wage rise of a few quid an hour. As we see, they have used public money to bail out the banks which have been placing reckless bets with our money taking pointers from the Paddy Power/William Hill school of economics handbook yet continue to preach the mantra that privatisation is more efficient than public services (when it suits them of course).

    Deep down, I think we do realise that education,health,housing and transport can be 100% public even if everything else is free market. Ask the Scandinavian Countries — they should know.

    The tube here would be useful, regardless of where economics and politics are headed and I’m a firm believer of mass subsidised public transport rather than private car ownership — which causes pollution and endless gridlock.

    If it does arrive in 10–15 years time will society in general have finally learnt a thing or two about a thing or two by then?

    Ask Groucho Marx

    Thank you all

    I drink my tea 🙂

  5. Blimey, that’s strong and wise tea, Euse.

    A regeneration of Camberwell will involve the poshification of Camberwell was were once posh enough like Peckham and Brixton. We can’t have regeneration without the well-off with their disposable income like the aspiring clerks and yore.

    Tube or train links will no doubt bring people who want to live here, as people warn, rather those those who want to sink here. “I will sink to Camberwell, I suppose,” as they began to say to estate agents not long away.

    I need some of your tea, Euse, I’m unravelling.

    Anyway, we need real people here not just box-tickers and meeting-wonks and other such corporate clones. Once it becomes unaffordable, we will lose the reason for being. We have a precious jewel in Camberwell, oh yes.

    We are the groves of the waking dream. There is something in the water here that lets the weird and wonderful take wing.

  6. I wouldn’t worry too much about poshification (great word, though). We’re closer to being a community of serfs than lords.

  7. The tube, presumably, would bring more office workers and with it the threat of blandification and Tesco Metros. Oh wait…

    (he writes, sitting in a, um, office*)

    On the other hand, try getting the 8.15 train into Victoria, or the bus home from Oval to Camberwell. It is totally rammed. So, yeah, on a capacity argument alone, the Tube would be useful. And it would turn us into sophisticated metropolitans, rather than plebs who get the bus.

    * a trendy office in Peckham, not bland at all, no sireee

  8. @dagmar

    My tea was a Clipper Fairtrade… Always tasty…failing that Morrisons Breakfast Tea is always first class…both invigorate my central nervous system…

    I hope the future turns anticlockwise at the turnpike…I like an eclectic social mix — its how the best ideas come to pass

    I should know 🙂

  9. I got some Clipper tea reduced to half price at Hamlet Sainsbury’s yesterday, mate — I mean it’s mate with an accent, also with lemongrass and lemon verbena. Will it make me go all funny?

    The Hamlet are up against Tonbridge Angels on Tuesday, should be a great game.

    You’re right, Gabe, the more wheels the merrier of whatever sort. Let the clerks come here, they always did.

    The whole of London is getting blandised and idiotised along with the rest of the world, but it’s up to Camberwell to spice it up. We live on the ley lines, it’s gotta happen.

    The Ivy House is good, isn’t it? I see our Mark Dodds got his Bill through Parliament two weeks ago. Now landlords can buy beer from proper brewers for half the price of the pisswater — forgive me — the stinking pisswater they have been obliged to buy from the shareholder-value johnnies with their I’d-get-that-checked-out anaemic piss-bleeding-water.

    This calls for a Carling! Har-har-HARRRRR!!! The black stout from a small brewery in Croydon I had at the Ivy House this week was out of this world.


    A very, very kind and generous neighbour slightly over ordered how much beer she needed for her husband’s birthday party. So I have a whole barrel of excellent Brick Brewery SE15 Blenheim Black IPA to, ahem, “dispose of”.

    Anyone who can come round to my studio (Studio 33, Coldharbour Studios, 26–34 Southwell Road, SE5) over the next few days with an empty bottle is more than welcome to take some away with them.

    Any donations to help raise funds for a very dear friend of mine ( would be much appreciated.

  11. @Dagmar. On the subject of ley lines, someone bought our last house from us because it was positioned on the intersection of two ley lines. Honestly.

  12. I remember the enthusiasm for the leys. The Old Straight Track. Have you noticed any sudden surges of enthuasiasm, Eilean?

  13. Sorry, Eilean, that should have read “enthusiasm”, not “euthanasia” or any other “asm”. Winter is a bit of a grind, isn’t it? The keys stick. The fingers jitter. The letters jingle.

    Gonna be filling-chillingly cold at Hamlet against Tonbridge tomorrow night, but winter ales are available and there will be a good crowd, I hear.

  14. Blimey, that’s a lot to read and see. What do you think, Euse? I’ll think what you think.

    Glad to see Hamlet won 2–0. A result, as we say. I think the whole of Camberwell should go by charabanc to the away game at league-leaders Margate on 17 January. The football apart, it will be a fascinating scenario of old Labour and traditional socialist fans versus the UKIP fanciers of Margate (prop. Roger Bird — ROGER BIRD!!!!).

    I was at the Peckham Chamber Orchestra concert at the Peckham Liberal Club tonight, a triumph of Mozart over beer-fart (they sell the famously blowy Courage Mild).

    Our Hannah Jones is to be much trumpeted for creating the PCO. She is a whirlwind.

  15. Last day of the Camberwell Arts Open Studios today. Was really rather busy at Coldharbour Studios and we’re expecting lots of people today too.

    As well as Coldharbour Studios, Empress Mews, Clockwork Studios and Remakery are also open from 11am-6pm. I’ve still got about 30 pints of rather lovely FREE BEER!, Brick Brewery IPA to finish off. PLEASE help me dispose of it!

  16. Newspapers cover the windows of the old Johannson’s.

    I wonder if they’ll be unwrapping it in time for Christmas?

    In any case, looks like we’ll have a new pizza place very soon…

  17. Speaking of pizza, we went to the Sun Cafe pizza place on Havil Street last weekend. It was good. Good atmosphere. Friendly chef. And we did okay as vegetarians*. So, yeah, it’s recommended.

    It’s only open in the evenings on Friday and Saturday. I think it’s a cafe by day.

    * never had humus on a pizza before, but hey…

  18. I went to the Franco Manca in East Dulwich a couple of weeks ago…it was very good and held up the standards of the Brixton branch…

    Apparently, the people behind the new place in Johannson’s also know their way around a bag of zero grade semolina flour.

  19. Very bright tomorrow, very high pressure, very cold — the oxygen available in the air will be at its highest for the whole year. This external environment could not be better for escaping the indoor claustrophobia that is Christmas, choking in the folds of the ample, holy-poly, roly-poly bosom of the fambly with its gawping Freudian holes demanding ever more flesh.

    Out in Camberwell, on the hills and in the parks, the sun will be at its most precious, most valuable and most cheering, the air at its most envigorating and giving.

    Let us thank the periodic table for this state of affairs at this particularly ridiculous time of having rather than being.

    Thus, lo! the crescent moon rises in the clear sky as in the Holy Land of yore, etc., etc., etc.

  20. Another sunny day. We might play a bit of tennis later in Brunswick Gardens, once the frost clears. It’s great this time of year isn’t it? So quiet out and about.

  21. “IGNORE SATNAV” is a big road sign I saw the other day in Cornwall. Nice pics, Monkeycat. Camberwell really was a place for swells at that time — is becoming so again.

    The must-see show is “River” by and about the painter Kurt Jackson at the Horniman. It’s free and finishes on 25 January. Has a beautiful film about the Thames, culminating in his large painting of it on display.

    Nothing stays the same for long, as Carol said this week in “The Archers”, played by the wonderful Eleanor Bron. For instance, it was only till recently that she wasn’t in it. Deep.

  22. As I walked along Camberwell Church Street this morning, I bethought myself of a coffee. Peering into ‘House’I saw no chairs, no tables, no cheery folk reading ‘The Guardian’ and certainly no Fair Trade Coffee or Tea Pigs. Where has it gone? Did I miss something?

  23. A shame because I liked House. We used to drop in for coffee when the kids were at singing group…

    The new baker looks good. I feel a certain loyalty to Sophlocles because, well just because… it’s a local institution and is always open. The bread is not great, however. I caught myself paying £4 a loaf on Bellenden Road the other day because nowhere else sells good bread.

    Looking at those photos Monkeycat linked, Camberwell has hardly changed in 100 years!

  24. I like Sophocles bread, especially their rolls, but really they haven’t varied their range in the 20 or so years since I moved here — while taste & fashion have progressed somewhat. I’ll still go to Sophocles for my burger rolls, but look forward to some nice toasted sourdough at the weekend.

    BTW, best bread I’ve found in London is the Sourdough Rye from the Swedish bakery, Fabrique, in Hoxton.

  25. I haven’t tried Fabrique’s Sourdough Rye, but Brickhouse’s Peckham Rye loaf is very hard to beat. In our house, Brickhouse is celebrated as South London’s best bread.

  26. The loss of House is a Camberwell tragedy, certainly for us.

    It was a community project set up by the Wells Trust (church) that owns the building. I think they have (rightly!) concluded that Camberwell’s community need for coffee shops is less pressing now than in 2006 but it’s still a loss. I gather they are tendering for a new community use — so watch that space.

    I shall always remember them for their contribution to London 2012

  27. There’s a great big Peacocks-shaped hole in the local consumer choice. That’s a large unit to fill, perhaps too large for another entrant into Camberwell’s bread’n’coffee market. I predict a Sainsburys, sadly.

    On the side streets, a new terrace of nouveau-Georgian houses is rapidly rising on the corner of Grove Lane and Love Walk, where the Brutalist church once stood. Behind them is a replacement house of praise, an attractive Italianate building.

  28. The thinking behind closing House was that, in line with the ethos of the Wells Way Baptist Church, it should provide a community need.

    With many coffee shops now open, that need is reduced. People were invited to pitch ideas for the revamped space, and a new venture will open soon. I hope. I wonder If I will be able to use my loyalty card. I found a full one the other day!

    Re peacocks: I can’t imagine a Sainsbury’s there. I can’t really imagine what would go there at the moment.

  29. Thought I should share with Camberwell Online that there’s a special screening of the documentary “Still The Enemy Within” coming to Peckhamplex in Rye Lane on Thurs 29 January for one night only. The film examines the 19845 British Miners Strike from the perspective of the miners and those who supported them. Starts at 6pm and there is a Q&A with the filmmakers and some of the participants in the film afterwards. Here’s a link to the bookings page for anyone interested:

  30. @Mushtimushta

    Good call regarding the “Still The Enemy Within” documentary.

    It’s an excellent film and one which will get another showing during…

    Camberwell Free Film Festival 2015 which runs from Thursday 19 March — Sunday 29 March.

    There will be a mix of classic, contemporary & cult films plus a couple of family favourites and a few more docs to entertain and inform 🙂

    The old peacocks store would probably do well as a Wilkinson’s — who are the new Woolworths

  31. 66066 rolled through this weekend, a good portent for the year, surely. This unglamorous Class 66 is often seen on the Margam to Corby “Crap Town” run, pulling a train of steel coils.

  32. Hamlet play leaders Margate on Saturday in a top-of-the-table clash of the titans. This is a must-see, must-win, so-to-go-to match.

    First they play Leiston, tomorrow evening, at home, not so much of a fashionable fixture but also a win-win game that they must win.

    Margate on Saturday at 3pm, though, followed by fish and chips and seaside ale, perhaps a night in a guest-house at 1950s prices, then a trip to the Turner Gallery and a stroll along Ken’s easternmost beaches — the whole package is a brighten-up-January situationist’s beano.

  33. The planning application for the renovation of Camberwell Green are now online.

    It’s been a saga getting to this stage, but the plans look great. Except for one thing, the loo. It’s not moving. Apparently it’s so that bus drivers can use it (I would be interested if anyone has ever seen a bus driver using it?!).

    It really does say, welcome to Camberwell, it’s full of.…

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