Surrey Street is set for a £500,000 make over following a pledge from the council to breathe new life into the historic market.
Announcement of the investment came at Monday night’s Council meeting where Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for communities, safety and justice, outlined ambitious plans to revitalise the 700-year-old market.
The council wants to use this unique opportunity to create a vibrant public space, increase footfall, and with the possibility of introducing evening and Sunday trading, while at the same time making sure that the market’s unique character and history are protected.
A public meeting was held on Wednesday 2 March at the Croydon Conference Centre in Surrey Street, giving local people the chance to put forward their ideas.
As well as new lighting, paved areas, archways and signage, possible improvements could include public art and the creation of spaces where people can enjoy a meal from the growing number of street food traders operating from the market.
Also under consideration are weekend farmers’ markets, and pop-up stalls for new and established traders. It is also likely that some key shop fronts could be renovated along similar lines to work carried out in London Road and South End.
The council is particularly interested in hearing from the growing artistic community who are being drawn to the area thanks to new galleries and workspaces being opened in previously empty shops. It is hoped that their creativity and imagination can be used to make sure that the work carried out has artistic merit as well as being of practical benefit to shops and traders.
“Local businesses have been calling for improvements to Surrey Street for years. The council sees the market as a real priority because it adds a huge amount of unique character to Croydon as a whole, and I’m delighted we’ve been able to find this money to bring about some much-needed improvements and enhancements.
“We want to see the market become a truly vibrant, buzzing, seven-days-a-week venue at which people can eat, view some art, meet up with friends and, of course, do some great-value shopping.
“Existing market traders and local businesses will see huge benefit from these positive changes and the subsequent growth in trade that we’re now seeing in other parts of the town.
“Our ambition is for Surrey Street to rival the best street markets in London and for it to give us a vibrant space for local independent traders to operate during the day and into the evening alongside the soon-to-be-redeveloped Whitgift Centre.”