In the future no-one will own a car – we’ll just summon up a self-driving cab with a click. So what to do with all those multi-storey car parks? In Peckham we may have the answer – Peckham Levels is the new project to continue the regeneration of Peckham, and car park has become box park. We went along to the opening night to see what it was all about.
Peckham Levels is a project created in a collaboration between Southwark Council and Make Shift, the organisation that designed and manages Pop Brixton. The underused multi-storey car park in the centre of Peckham near the cinema, has been turned into a hub for local independent businesses with a focus on arts, culture and the local community. Providing low-cost space to start-ups that hopefully become successful businesses is one of the key elements, along with providing a space to showcase local art, design and performance. There are open-access facilities too, such as screen and 3D printing, a ceramics studio, meeting room hire and music rehearsal rooms.
Levels 5 and 6 are generally open to the public and are based round food, drink and performance. At one end there’s a bar serving a variety of beers and wines, a large cocktail bar and various street food outlets around a large bench and table seating area. Moving to the other end, there’s a restaurant called West with a small plates menu and through a doorway you come to a large yoga studio next to a hair salon. In a separate area, which wasn’t open on the launch night, is the live music event space. In case you’re thinking it might be a bit draughty up there with the wind whistling through, it isn’t, as the open sides of the car park have all been enclosed. As a result Peckham Levels has a big advantage over other box park developments – a large (and warm!) indoor space.
As you might expect, the opening night was packed out and the bars and food outlets were doing a roaring trade. We had a Kurdish burger from Nandine, which as you can see in the photo, is absolutely huge! It was also incredibly tasty, filled with spicy sausage and melted cheese. They also do a nice line in baklava, but we saved that treat for another visit along with tasting some of the other food on offer.
I’m pretty sure this project is going to be a huge success; currently it’s planned to last for six years but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Peckham Levels become a permanent fixture in SE15.