Now seen as a blueprint for other London councils to follow, in the 1990s – a long while before Peckham became London’s creative heartland – Copeland Park slowly began building its community of local artists and businesses using a truly grassroots, innovative method. In taking the initiative to reuse once forgotten buildings, Copeland Park was able to offer local startups and artists their first home.

This pioneering cultural quarter – that recently popped up in an architecture students’ dissertation on ‘utopian workplaces’ – once served, simply, as a studio complex. It wasn’t until 2013, however, that Copeland Park management took a more direct approach in creating a ‘business and arts incubator’. In continuing its support of the myriad creative organisations it plays host to, Copeland Park spearheaded a movement that enabled a new generation of music and arts initiatives to rise in Peckham, London and beyond.

Its links to local creative organisations, support groups and festivals enable Copeland Park’s vision to be broader than the sum of its parts, with Peckham Vision and Peckham Festival key players in its success.

Peckham Vision

Peckham Vision is the citizens’ action group that values Peckham’s diversity and vibrancy to such a degree that it enabled Rye Lane to develop organically, instead of through enforced redevelopment. It helped achieve this by promoting community action and creating opportunities for people to make connections locally, improving relationships between authorities and the local community.

Campaigns follow the statutory processes for citizens’ rights in planning policy and development control and take in planning consultations and public hearings, petitions, web response portals, workshops, drop-in sessions and much more.

Peckham Vision runs these from its base for community events at its Bussey Building studio and its Holdrons Arcade shop, which is an information hub and drop-in centre with merchandise and books (open Saturdays 2-5pm, Tuesdays 2-4pm). Staffed by volunteers and reliant on donations to keep the momentum going, both sites were provided by Copeland Park’s owners for the part it played in saving the site.

Since 2005, Peckham Vision’s key concerns has been about the reuse of the buildings in Central Rye Lane instead of demolition and redevelopment. These include:

  • Copeland Park & Bussey Building – Peckham Vision largely grew from a community campaign (2005-2009) that questioned the demolition of a 6-acre site – which included the Bussey Building and Copeland Park – for a tram depot. To acknowledge its part in saving the site, Copeland Park’s owners provided Peckham Vision with the Bussey studio and Holdrons Arcade shop to continue its important community work which began via that campaign
  • Dovedale Court where they prevented the clearance of rail arches now home to the new economy including Bar Story, Peckham Springs, Brick Brewery
  • Restoration of the derelict huge Old Waiting Room in Peckham Rye Station and the reopening the space in front of the listed Peckham Rye station
  • Removing Peckham Multi Storey Car Park from the Council’s demolition plan so extending the leases for Bold Tendencies, Frank’s Café and the new Peckham Levels, and removal of compulsory purchase of the PeckhamPlex cinema

There is a small core team of active local residents assisted by more volunteers who help to man the shop as part of Peckham Vision’s team. It relies on voluntary contributions so to make a donation, please visit its website, email for bank details or drop-in to the shop.

Keep updated with Peckham Vision’s latest campaigns through their website ( and social media channels (Facebook | Twitter).

Peckham Festival

Running every September, Peckham Festival hosts over 200 events that showcase the best art, culture and entrepreneurship with music, performances, film screenings, workshops, walks and talks, open studios and art exhibitions. It’s a four-day celebration of creativity, culture and food held at venues and sites in the area with one single aim: to celebrate Peckham and promote SE15 as a hub of cultural importance.

Produced by Copeland Park, but sponsored by Southwark Council and other local businesses, the programme of events reflects the collective effort of Peckham-based creatives coming together, and has been made possible with the help of locals who have been volunteering, supporting, and taking part over the years.

“We are very pleased to be working with one of the organisations who helped put Peckham on the cultural map to bring forward the first Peckham Festival.” – Councillor Johnson Situ, the then cabinet member for employment, business and culture

In 2017, the festival showcased over 200 events in 4 days and brought together in excess of 15,000 people over its duration and this year’s events hopes to see an even more spectacular event than the last.

Find out more about Peckham Festival, including how to get involved, on their website,