News round-up: Camberwell box park, Camberwell Fair and more

Lots of things to talk about, not least the news that Camberwell could be set to turn into hipster central! Let’s start with that.

Camberwell Yards

There’s a chance that Camberwell will get its own temporary retail / entertainment space made of converted shipping containers, similar to Pop Brixton, The Artworks Elephant, or the Boxpark that’s so beloved of the hipsters in Shoreditch and, er, Croydon. Camberwell Yards, as it’s called, is mooted to be on the smaller area of the car park behind Morrisons in Butterfly Walk.

Map showing Camberwell Yards, just off Daneville Road
The proposed location of ‘Camberwell Yards’

There are a planned 14 shipping containers around a central communal area. The intended uses are:

  • Four containers for food and beverages
  • One container for local community use
  • Eight containers for local businesses
  • One container for WC
  • A central communal area for flexible use, e.g. a pop-up cinema
Indicative layout of Camberwell Yards
14 Container units surround a communal area
Sketch of the Camberwell Yards development
An artist’s sketch of how the area could look.

It’s fair to say that reaction on Twitter to this news has not been entirely positive, with much muttering of gentrification and hipsters. I’m not entirely against the idea myself, although I think the key word used in the description above is local. How will businesses be judged to be local? Who will decide? How will that be enforced?

If this brings new people to the area and gives support to truly local businesses, then yes it’s a positive move. If all it does is bring people in who stay only in the box park, don’t get out and see more, and in fact attracts custom away from existing local businesses, then no, it’s not a good thing.

Notices up on the former HSBC building state that there will be a public consultation about this on Thursday, 20th July, from 3–7pm, in the old bank itself. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make this. If anyone is planning to attend, do please get in touch and send me a report.

Update, 28/09/17: the plans have been scrapped.

Camberwell Fair

A reminder that this Saturday, 22nd July, Camberwell Fair returns to the Green. The fair is

a celebration of the diverse people, culture and community of the local area, and will feature 2 top quality music stages, 40 market stalls, food, bars and games.

Entry is once again free, although may not always be; the organisers are crowdfunding to raise £3,000 to cover their costs and keep it free in future. If you’ve enjoyed the fair in the past, or plan to this year, consider chipping in a few quid to support; it’s not entirely selfless, you can get some goodies in return for your donation.

Camberwell Grove Railway Bridge

If you live in East/South Camberwell, you may be affected by the ongoing closure of this bridge. The latest news is that it will cost at least £17,000 to strengthen the bridge to support vehicles up to 3 tonnes, plus the cost of works to ensure that heavier vehicles can’t cross it; or at least £1,000,000 to strengthen it for vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes. Some people want the bridge reopened, others want the closure made permanent. If you have an opinion, Southwark Council want to hear it.

The Bower

More crowdfunding news, this time for a new gallery, bookshop, publishing studio, and cafe—in a converted toilet block in Brunswick Park. The Bower will

host a series of exhibitions and events and produce books with artists and writers by Publication Studio London on site. In addition to this, The Bower will provide a much needed cafe service to the park, serving freshly made coffee, tea and refreshments, all from local suppliers.

If you’d like to see a better use for the old WCs, you might consider sending them a few quid towards their £10,027 (very specific) target.

Nape & Rock Oysters

A quick thanks to Cannon & Cannon for inviting me along to their Oyster Summer Session at Nape on Sunday. Fantastic Jersey oysters from &Rocks, and great wine from Nape themselves. Good to see the place nice and busy, it’s a very welcome addition to Camberwell and a local business that deserves support. And I’m not just saying that because I was given some free oysters.

Two plates of oysters, one raw, one cooked
Raw oysters with lemon, and grilled oysters with chipotle

Camberwell Green

And finally, the revamped and refreshed Camberwell Green has been awarded a Green Flag, “the benchmark national standard for publicly accessible parks and green spaces in the United Kingdom”. It’s a pleasure to walk through there now, and great to see it so well-used in the nice Summer weather we’re having. Wish more people would pick their litter up after them, though.

Author: Peter

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

35 thoughts on “News round-up: Camberwell box park, Camberwell Fair and more”

  1. I’m not sure I understand why people would be against the box park? Adding more businesses and reasons to come to Camberwell in an under utilised space on a temporary basis. Sounds exciting to me.

    1. I can see why people have reservations about it. Some people over on twitter however have decided, in advance of actually having any specific information about the Camberwell proposal, that “boxpark is social cleansing” and that it needs to be vigorously protested. It must be oddly comforting to have a such an uncomplicated view of the world.

      Nevermind the fact that it doesn’t actually appear to be an application for a ‘Boxpark’ as such at all. Perhaps ‘Camberwell Yards’ might be substantively different. One way to learn would of course be to go to the consultation and find out what the actual plans are. But who’s got time for that! There’s righteous outrage to be had!

    2. I live next door to the proposed box park and have my concerns. I have lived here for 22 years and welcome any improvements to Camberwell but I will tell you why I am not convinced.

      The first one is of course the noise in an area surrounded by residential properties. In my building it is predominately key workers so teachers , nurses , hospital and prison staff. We also have small children and disabled residents. We have the right to a decent nights sleep to carry out our jobs. However we are also in social housing and so Grenfell rules apply to us i.e. we do not have a voice or the right to an opinion.

      The management at BFW told us that the opening times of the box park would be the same as Morrisons but have, without any consultation, applied for and have been given an increase in the hours of the alcohol licence at Morrisons. There are no conditions laid down as to when the centre can open so they are in fact free to open 24hrs if they wish. All renters of the box park are also able to apply for a licence and to be quite honest I dont see how they can ever make a profit unless they open late , with music and drinking licence. MJW told us of course that they dont expect to make any money out of it and that is because that is not what it is all about.

      Which brings me to my second concern. I expect you are all aware that the work carried out on the green and burgess park was for the ultimate benefit of developers and I object to my council tax being spend on projects designed to help sell properties to money launderers As with the Heygate ‚where all of the flats have gone to non doms ‚they are sold as helping create a community but do no such thing.

      I have dealt with the various incarnations of the owners of Butterfly Walk for 22 years and they are slippery characters. They care nothing of the local community and have plans to turn the whole of Butterfly Walk and car park into luxury flats for said money launderers. That is why all of this is being done . Box parks are trendy so its the same old story and something they can sell. They also want to look good to Southwark Council to help their ultimate intentions.

      This is not helped by the revolving door of corruption at Southwark Council where people paid to protect us then leave and set up their own companies to aid the developers . The last one helping MJW was Jeremy Fraser …ex leader of Southwark Council.

      So thats my thoughts. If any of you want a box park maybe you have a space within earshot of your bedroom window that would be more appropriate ?

  2. I am keeping an open mind about the box park.

    I have one piece of clarification though.

    I had not realised that Boxpark is a company rather than a generic term. Boxpark only have places in Shoreditch and Croydon at the moment. The place in Brixton is called Pop Brixton and nothing to do with Boxpark.

    Spot Property Company, who own Butterfly Walk are doing this themselves.

    I think this is part of a wider plan to regenerate Butt Walk and build a new shopping centre.

    I wonder if some of the criticism comes because people assumed it was part Boxpark, who are pretty commercial and invite larger brands to their places?

    I’m not 100% convinced that it will work in Camberwell, but I’d would love to have more options for outdoor evening drinks!

    1. You’re absolutely right, I misunderstood the original article I read that alerted me to this. It’s *a* box park, rather than Boxpark. I’ve edited the post for clarity.

  3. Hello — who is going to be in charge to develop the project about the Camberwell Park?

    1. It was. It’s been advertised at Butterfly Walk, here and many discussions online.
      In any case, this is not a formal planning application but just a test of the waters to see how people feel about it. It was done by the owners of Butt Walk.

    2. It was Not advertised properly .However if your part of the “usual suspects” always in the know as friends and family work for LBS one would say that.

      Categorically this project belongs to the developers .LBS has no say as land has already been sold off

    3. Hi Marlon,

      I’m not someone with special access to information as you insinuate.

      I don’t have any friends or family that work for LBS. I just look out for consultation posters and read online forums to find out what is happening in Camberwell. And yes I chat to neighbours and friends in Camberwell. My original point to you was more question to you. How else should the owners of Butt Walk advertised their initial consultation? It was advertised in the local press, it was discussed here and other places online, and there were posters advertising it around Butterfly Walk. What more were they expected to do. It was a consultation by some people who don’t really know what they are doing, but have heard that container parks are the “cool thing” and thought they should test the waters and see how enthusiastic local people are to the idea.

      I am not necessarily in favour of the box park, but I am amazed at the anger directed at anyone who isn’t angry about there being a box park here.

      Yes, of course they are trying to do it for commercial reasons, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have the potential to be something great for Camberwell if done well. My fear is that it will be a half arsed attempt, done by people who don’t really understand what makes such a concept work.

  4. I went along, they didn’t give a whole lot more info out that has been summed up by Peter, but the very peppy lady who briefed me was definitely pushing the ‘local’ angle. She emphasised that the hope is to attract local business (which as Peter points out is a bit vague), with one container given over for locals to use for whatever pop up events they wish to hold. The design is to be more ‘soft’ than the similar structures at Brixton and Shoreditch, more greenery and wood, etc. She gave a hopeful (!) estimate of a Christmas opening. I have to say their sketch-up looks ambitious considering the relatively small space that the car park inhabits in real life!

  5. Marlon, we all had leaflets through the door advertising the consultation, perhaps your road was missed out.

  6. Anyone been into Camberwell Arms since the takeover a few months ago? Reduced portions at extortionate prices. Used to be a great restaurant. Such a shame.

    1. Someone else mentioned to me that it had been taken over by the owners of Frank’s in Peckham, but AFAIK the owners of Frank’s have been involved in it since the beginning. Perhaps they’ve taken sole ownership?

      I haven’t been in for a little while, so can’t comment on the recent quality/quantity of the food.

  7. SOUTHWARK COUNCIL are leading us a merry (crap) dance. Our kind neighbour has texted us here on holiday that SOUTHWARK COUNCIL will bring in their stupid parking permit zone while we’re away. So we try and pay for a permit online but they say in their stupid SOUTHWARK COUNCIL way that our postcode is ineligible for a permit. Every day of our holiday we’re ringing SOUTHWARK COUNCIL to beg for a permit and we’re fobbed off with a load of old “I don’t know, I’ll arks my supervisor” and never ring back. Thank you SOUTHWARK COUNCIL. You make us pay to park — then can’t give us a permit. Thanks a bunch. Wish you were here.

  8. SOUTHWARK COUNCIL are very difficult to contact. You can try and sign in to their new website — but you can’t get on. We have spent most of our week’s holiday trying to contact SOUTHWARK COUNCIL about the stupid parking zone they are bringing in — you cannot apply for a permit for it. Today I tried to sign in to something stupidly called “My Southwark”. But you can’t get on. You can’t apply for a permit. You can’t get in touch with the council by “My Southwark”.

    Life under Labour is going to be tough. Everything in triplicate, including taxes — taxed to park your car, taxed with a parking ticket because you can’t apply for a permit even if you wanted to pay them £125 to park your car.

    You may as well sit and wait FOR THEIR CLAMPING COLLEAGUES IN THE CAR CLAMPING INDUSTRY to appear.

    This is not a good way to spend a week’s holiday, trying to contact SOUTHWARK COUNCIL when they do not allow their contact telephone numbers and emails to be used.

    OK, they advise you to TRY contracting them. But it’s only advice, isn’t it? It’s not binding. It’s an “ambition”.

    1. SOUTHWARK COUNCIL’S “My Southwark” now works, apparently, though you cannot email parking@​southwark.​gov.​uk on its own as they advertise — you have to go through “My Southwark”, but there is no guarantee they will reply.

      None of this is surprising. Labour claim to have won the last election. When I contacted a Labour councillor recently about a neighbour’s problems as a council tenant, I received no reply to two emails to him.

      Lewisham is another council worth scrutiny. Their recent attempt to collapse Millwall will go down in history as one of the most corrupt Labour property-deal bungles of all time.

      What is it about Labour Councils and Labour that is so anti-people? At least the Conservatives have taken back control. Anything Labour seems to have seized up completely, except their 14-minute solos at Glastonbury, reminiscent of the great Clapton and Hendrix solos of the late 1960s.

  9. No stress, Dagmar. There’s no sign of any parking-zone activity related to permits, or supervisors, or anything else. It is AUGUST. We are talking about SOUTHWARK COUNCIL. Nothing much will happen for a while. You can CHILLAX like David Cameron at a summer festival.

    1. Thank you, Gabe. We’re back from Cornwall and relieved to find the street more crammed with cars than ever. The council reeled me in, promising to call back to allow me to pay, then not calling.

      In the real world, where I live, if a business acted like SOUTHWARK COUNCIL it would fold.

      The problem, now, see, is I can’t trust the SOUTHWARK COUNCIL brand ever again after it failed in something so simple.

  10. Our pay-to-park letter arrived. The resident parking zone starts Oct 2. You can order a permit 28 days in advance. Seems like this is going to cost ~£150 more each year (minimum) for something that is currently free. Maybe we’ll benefit from less traffic and air pollution.

  11. On the other hand, SOUTHWARK COUNCIL has introduced free swimming on Sundays. This is a great idea.

  12. That’s good — may become a new way of getting round London, swimming.

    The art show at the South London Gallery ends on Sunday 10 September. I was a bit critical about it here but it contains some gems. One is Thomas Brooman of WOMAD in a video, telling the story of the origin of the phrase “world music” — he was at the meeting where it was first coined, “As a title for a browser card in 40 independent record shops”.

    Another is terribly poignant. A Caribbean woman feels that “I like to give and there is no-one here to give to.”

  13. DID ANYONE see Tom Phillips’ opera “Irma” at the South London gallery last weekend? I totally forgot, was too busy chasing the waste management facility gig and other locations of Open House Weekend. Anyone went?

  14. Talking of Peckham Festival, there’s a happening at the South London Gallery tomorrow afternoon, Saturday 23 September, 1–5.30pm. Adam Chodzko will be making an ongoing intervention of an unspecified nature throughout the afternoon — should be lively. Since politics is over, the revolution starts here:

    “An event exploring the potentials and limits of collaboration through an afternoon of live art, video and a panel discussion. Including additional work by Adam Chodzko; Alia Pathan; Anita Delaney; Bill Leslie; Daniel Dressel; Katharine Fry; Lindsay Seers; Michael Dignam; Jason Jones; Rebecca Glover and Fritha Jenkins.

    Future Refrains features new work by: Alicja Rogalska & Daniel Dressel; Anita Delaney & Simon Gerrard; James Ferris & Paula Linke; Adam Chodzko; Lindsay Seers.”

    Date: 1 pm — 5.30 pm Saturday 23rd September 2017

    Ongoing intervention by Adam Chodzko throughout afternoon
    1.00pm — Introduction to the afternoon
    1.20pm — Rebecca Glover & Fritha Jenkins SLABS — performance
    1.40pm — Jason Jones A closely guarded Pedagogical secret — performance
    2.20pm — Lindsay Seers 23 second videos — screening
    2.30pm — Anita Delaney Party Platter — performance
    2.40pm — Alia Pathan; Katharine Fry; Bill Leslie; Michael Dignam; Daniel Dressel — screening of recent Peer Sessions members film and video work
    3.30pm — Panel discussion What is the significance of collaborative artistic practice? Featuring Peer Sessions, Emily Rosamond, Lindsay Seers, Adam Chodzko, Anita Delaney & Daniel Dressel
    5.30pm — End

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