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Wednesday, 29 November, 2000, 14:09 GMT
Peckham: Renewal and revolt
North Peckham estate
Despite investment, social problems persist
The neighbourhood where Damilola Taylor, 10, was killed is in one of Europe's biggest regeneration zones, but frustrations remain over quality of life in the area.

Only last month the 260m Peckham Partnership project was hailed by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott as a "shining example" of what can be done to renew deprived neighbourhoods.

The six-year-old scheme will see 4,000 graffiti-stained, crime-ridden and overcrowded blocks torn down to make way for 2,000 new homes.

Damilola Taylor
Damilola: Killed on condemned estate
But long-standing frustrations with the renewal scheme came to a head recently when a key tenants' body passed a vote of no confidence in the Peckham Partnership management.

Mike Rahman, development manager for the Peckham Partnership's Tenants' and Residents Forum said: "People still haven't got jobs and health has not improved."

About 750 of the 2,000 new homes on the Peckham estate will be sold to private owners.

But Mr Rahman said: "There is a belief that if you bring middle-class people into an area their affluence will rub off on ordinary people.

"But they will not raise the standards of living for ordinary people."

'Meaningful investment'

Damilola's family left Nigeria for England in the summer, and found themselves housed near the condemned North Peckham estate.

Their estate is one of the last of the Peckham five to be rebuilt with demolition due to begin in March.

Map: Peckham area
In August, eight people were injured outside Chicago's nightclub in Peckham High Street when a man opened fire with a sub-machine gun.

Less than a week earlier, police arrested more than a dozen suspected crack cocaine dealers in the High Street.

But the area does boast some notable successes, the result of "meaningful investment", according to Mr Prescott.

It contains the award-winning 6.5m Peckham Library and the unique Peckham Pulse which combines a sports centre with medical facilities.

Efforts to cut crime have seen 2m spent on community safety with 300,000 going on CCTV.

Southwark, the borough in which Peckham lies, had the third highest crime rate in London three years ago. It is now ninth.

But for those residents yet to feel the benefits of regeneration, the investment is not enough.

Mr Rahman said the no-confidence vote came from long-standing frustrations with the regeneration.

He said: "Buildings have gone up but the quality of life has not."

What the area desperately needs is more commitment to education, training and jobs, he added.

Charles Clarke MP
"It takes time to change communities"
Read the stories below to find our what happened to Damilola Taylor

The aftermath

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