Go-ahead for Peckham arts school development

Councillors have approved construction of a five-storey performing arts building in a conservation area in Peckham in south London after planners concluded that the development would be of a 'high quality design'.

An artist's visualisation of the finished scheme
An artist's visualisation of the finished scheme

Southwark Council's planning committee granted full planning permission, subject to conditions, to Mountview Academy of Theatre and Arts for the development on a vacant plot of land near Peckham Hill Street.

The development would see 9,720 square metres of educational space created for the drama school along with a canteen, a rooftop café or bar and a ground-floor commercial unit.

According to a council planning report, the site is within the Rye Lane conservation area and close to grade II listed buildings.

The report said that local group the Peckham Society objected to the scheme when consulted, saying it is "too big" and would affect views of the Stirling Prize-winning Peckham Library.

The report said the design of the drama school had been influenced by comments from a design review panel.

"The scheme was amended to widen the gap between the proposed building and the library and especially to ensure that the library remains the focus of views from both the canal towpath and Peckham Hill Street from the north," it said.

"In this way, the theatre reconciles the urban spaces around the library into a sequence of spaces focusing on the exuberant and iconic library."

The report added that the proposed drama school would be "appropriate to the open setting of the canal walk and the Rye Lane conservation area".

Overall, officers concluded that there was no substantive reason to withhold planning permission. 

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