New council threat to Urban Art as 18th show wraps up

Another successful Urban Art show in Brixton, the 18th, came to end this evening (7 July) with the welcome arrival of some sunshine and the unwelcome arrival of two Lambeth council officers to warn of the imposition of massive charges on the event.

They told organiser Tim Sutton that each of 110-plus exhibitors at this year’s show were liable to pay a fee for street trading in the region of £100.

Urban Art, London’s largest annual open-air contemporary arts fair, has raised money for charity since it began, with 10% of sales this year going to Holy Trinity school, Jubilee primary school, the Southside Rehabilitation project, that helps to improve or re-establish work habits for people whose lives have been interrupted by mental illness, and the Anchor Group.

urban art show

Many thousands of visitors each year flock to the show listed by the Evening Standard as one the 50 reasons for loving South London – as Lambeth council’s own “Love Lambeth” website points out.

But despite extended and detailed negotiations with the council’s events department – reported by the Blog last year – Sutton has, once again, had to warn that the future of Urban Art is at stake.

He was told by council street trading officials, who arrived as the event was drawing to a close, that the negotiations with the events department had no bearing on their requirement for fees that could amount to a five-figure sum.


  1. This is so Lambeth. They pimp out Brockwell Park to corporate giants for fenced-off festivals in exchange for big bucks. Meanwhile, a small cultural event such as the Urban Art Fair is going to be be killed by taxing the little people. Then, the two schools and two charities (above) will get no donations from this people’s enterprise and the bean counters in the Town Hall can rest easy, knowing they have done their job.
    To Tim Sutton I say ‘Well done’ for the UAF so far and keep fighting.

  2. I can’t work it out. Do they really want to close the event? Take the money from the charities? Are they so shortsighted? Perhaps another borough would like to step forward and offer a site? Come on London get a grip!!

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