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Creative cluster of 54 small firms fear council’s ‘parking zone’ in Camberwell could kill them off

Some 54 creative, independent businesses are fearful that parking changes to Peckham Road will make it impossible for them to carry on working.

Vanguard Court in Camberwell is home to prop makers, glass workers and set designers that cater for West End productions and household names like The Voice and Strictly Come Dancing.

But the 54 small firms have become frustrated with Southwark Council’s plans for a controlled parking zone (CPZ) around their site.

Jonathan Shaw, landlord of Vanguard Court, says the CPZ will mean more “overspill” from drivers blocking the narrow driveway leading up to the business park, which is essential for the businesses who have van and truck deliveries throughout the day.

_______________Jonathan Shaw, owner of the Vanguard Court business park

“We already have problems from the council’s registry office next door, when staff and guests park here when weddings are held, or when contractors have come to work on it,” said Jon, 51.

“The CPZ will mean people will be able to pay for permits, but I fear there will be overspill from other residents across the street and nearby.

“We have 54 tenants employing about 200 people. A few have been here 20 to 30 years.

“But many of them rely on having large items delivered here or collected. If people park in Vanguard Court it will be a big problem.”

The businessman, whose father once owned a suitcase manufacturing firm on the site, said his many attempts to contact his ward councillors Mark Williams and Rhada Burgess went unanswered for months. That was until the day before Southwark began its formal consultation of the plans on March 30.

Jon added: “I was promised numerous times that the plans for CPZ would go to the Camberwell Community Council.

“I had to ask several times when this would happen, then suddenly [council officers] replied saying they didn’t need to, basically because the council changed its own rules and decided to just go straight ahead with it.”

He said the council has ignored his suggestion that council could appropriate the un-adopted section of road Vanguard Court that forms the entrance to the business park, and place yellow lines. “Then there would be no problem,” Jon said.

But he is aware that another motive for Southwark to create the CPZ is that it will be able to sell parking permits for residents in Shenley Road and Vestry Road.

Cllr Ian Wingfield, Southwark’s cabinet member for environment and the public realm, said: “We are aware of the concerns raised by some of the businesses in Vanguard Court and I would urge those with concerns to respond to the formal consultation on the proposed controlled parking zone which is still underway.

“Speaking generally, the council does have the power to adopt private roads in certain circumstances. Officers will be in touch with the business owners in the near future to arrange a meeting to discuss this and any other options that may be available to help manage this issue.”

The fab talents at stake

  • Mantaray, designers of sets for Comic Relief, Strictly, and The Voice
  • Ceramicist Edmund de Waal
  • Turner Prize short-listed sculptor Cathy de Monchaux
  • Nostalgic Glass: which repairs fine glass ware from mirrors to chandeliers
  • Howard Fenn: who produces intricate, bespoke metal sculptures and jewellery
  • Marcus Hall: Props has worked for West End productions like ‘Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf’ and ‘Travesties’

Visit to learn more about Vanguard Court’s artists and creative tenants



  1. A couple of minor corrections to an otherwise brilliant report. Vanguard Court is owned by a small family company of which I am a director. I don’t own it and am not the landlord.

    Cathy de Monchaux and Edmund de Waal were longstanding tenants but have now moved on. They are sadly missed, but their influence lives on. For example a number of Edmund’s former apprentices remain with us and our reputation as possibly London’s top ceramics centre is his legacy to us.

    Our main criticism of the council other than it’s repeated failure to talk to us, is that it committed in writing, many times, to bring the results of its informal consultation to the relevant community councils. The informal consultation report was biased and shoddy and it has not been tabled at any Community Council. Nonetheless, the council appears to be proceeding with implementation at full speed and has already drafted the traffic orders.

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