Residents of Surrey Street and Church Street and the immediate area around Croydon’s 750-year-old street market are planning on holding an emergency meeting this weekend to discuss the council’s plans, announced this week, to introduce Sunday trading in September.
“Sunday’s been our one day of peace and quiet, and now the council has announced this without consulting us,” one concerned resident said today. They said that they had only found out about the plan when they read about it on Inside Croydon.
The Sunday trading scheme “will focus on street food, homemade and artisan produce, arts and crafts, vintage and retro goods, and street entertainment”, according to Croydon Council, which has earmarked £500,000 to try to reinvigorate one of the country’s oldest street markets.
But the council has already managed to alienate many of the market’s existing traders, as it is banning the “pound-a-bowl” fruit and veg stall-holders from taking a pitch on Sundays. Now it is emerging that people living nearby are also unhappy with the plans.
Shop-keepers and managers of stores on Surrey Street and Church Street are worried, too. One local, who approached Mark Watson, the Labour cabinet member responsible for the proposals, advised him that some larger stores, such as Iceland, need access on Sundays to unload deliveries and re-stock. “Watson said to me, ‘We don’t want shops like that on the street’.”
Some suspect that the recently staged “Big Lunch” event on Surrey Street was run as a trial for the Sunday trading plan. They also believe that Watson has plans to stage a Pride Festival in Surrey Street.
“Fiona Woodcock, the market manager, has been talking about the Sunday ‘vision’ thing for some time,” a resident told Inside Croydon. “We’re not ‘anti-events’ or Sunday trading, but the council needs to work with residents to ensure access to properties, and to arrange better-than-adequate street cleaning, which is a growing problem with vermin. We’ve told Mark Watson our concerns, but he couldn’t care less.
“The Surrey Street Big Lunch was a test run. It was supposed to be a community event, but it was taken over by the council to suit their own ends – food was being sold, and they seemed to be mates of the bands. It was totally not the point of the Big Lunch concept.
“I could hear the amplified music in my bedroom. They want to block the street off, too. I don’t think this is a bad idea but there will be implications for residents.”
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