15 December 2009

What would you like to see happen to the former public toilets on Peckham Rye Common?

As I've mentioned in a previous post, last Wednesday's Nunhead and Peckham Rye Community Council passed a motion regarding the former public toilets on Peckham Rye Common. The motion set up a group, lead by local Labour Councillor Gordon Nardell, which will make suggestions to Southwark Council on alternative uses which might be made of this building. Those present at the meeting rightly felt that local people should come up with some alternative proposals to the current plan: Southwark Council seems hell bent on renting the building out as a shop, despite the fact that it's on common land.
In case you're not sure which building I'm writing about, it's located near East Dulwich Road here.

At the meeting I asked Councillor Nardell if I might become a member of this sub-group. He agreed, and I think membership is open to anyone who is interested in joining. The group will be coming together in the near future to hold the first meeting.

Personally, I'm inclined to argue that the building be returned to its original purpose as public toilets, but I've have an open mind the subject. I'd be open to other, perhaps more imaginative, suggestions. What I do feel very strongly about is that historic common land should not be used for commercial purposes. Our local shops and businesses do a tremendous amount to boost the profile and economy of our area, but it would not be appropriate for a shop or business to be located on this site. For me, it is the thin end of the wedge. Green spaces on park and common land should be jealously protected from development, particularly in inner London where such areas are all too rare. Turning this site into a shop opens the door to further development in the future which infringes the principle that land open to all local residents.

Before the first meeting of the Community Council sub-group, I thought I'd ask for the views of local residents on what they would like to see done with the building. Would you like to see it returned to it's former purpose as public toilets? Or do you have other ideas for how the building could be put to good use? Let me know your views by completing this very short online questionnaire here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LPMCF2T

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