Protesters from across Southwark gathered on a Peckham ‘park’ to fight council plans to build flats on it.
Construction of 120 new homes is set to start on August 9, but campaigners argue the space is regularly used by school children and locals and should be protected.
The council has argued the land is not a park as it has no “open space classification”.
Southwark Council is planning to build 96 council rent and 24 shared ownership flats on Peckham Green, which the council calls “the Flaxyard site”.
The Sumner Avenue and Melon Road site is just off Peckham High Road.
Protest organiser Lewis Schaffer has successfully campaigned against similar plans for his estate to be altered at Priory Court in Nunhead.
He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the July 31 protest “went incredibly well”.
He said: “Just two months ago few people in the borough – let alone the immediate community – knew about this horrendous plan to destroy our public park. Now they know. And now we are letting Southwark Council know that we know.
Southwark Council argue ‘Peckham Green’ isn’t a park – but families argue it is regularly used as one
(Image: Lewis Schaffer)
“We are planning more demonstrations. We are asking residents to communicate to their councillors, MPs, and the local media to demand that Southwark Council stop the planned building on the Green.
“We do not support direct action in violation of the law. We want Southwark to announce that they will not be building on the park, that they will designate it a park to protect it forever, and begin to work with the community to make it more available.”
The council says the new homes are necessary to hit its target of building 11,000 council homes by 2043.
Building development councillor Stephanie Cryan said the project will be 100 per cent affordable.
She said: “The Flaxyard site was previously an area of privately owned derelict residential land, and has never had any open space classification.
“While we are committed to preserving as many green spaces as possible, we also need to balance this against the desperate need for affordable housing in the borough.
“There are currently 270 households on the housing waiting list in the Peckham ward, who could benefit from the new homes being built here.”
Cllr Cryan said the council has worked with residents on the design of the new development and is “confident that it will enhance the surrounding area”.
She said Sumner Road Park and the start of the Surrey Canal Park “are both within easy walking distance of the site”, while all the new homes will have either balconies or garden spaces.
Cllr Cryan added: “The Flaxyard development is one of many sites we are working on across the borough to deliver desperately-needed council housing for our residents.
“There are currently over 15,000 households on our housing waiting list. These residents’ lives are being affected on a daily basis and some will be living in overcrowded accommodation.”