Sunday market in Surrey Street will stretch council’s limits

Flushed with the success of last week’s Pridefest, Croydon Council launches its Sunday market in Surrey Street this weekend, where “£8 a loaf” artisan bread seems likely to replace the regular market stall-holders’ cries of “Pound a bowl!”

Police estimated around 3,000 people attended Pridefest in Surrey Street last Sunday. How many will turn up for artisan bread and gentrified tat this Sunday?

Police estimated around 3,000 people attended Pridefest in Surrey Street last Sunday. How many will turn up for artisan bread and gentrified tat this Sunday?

“As part of a £500,000 package of improvements the council has opened the street to seven-day trading, meaning that Sunday shoppers can now browse stalls as part of their visit to the town centre,” the council announced this week.

“The first Sunday market day is set to feature a wide range of street food, as well as a much- anticipated artisan baker and a variety of clothing and hand-made gifts.”

Croydon Council has deliberately excluded existing stall-holders from applying to be part of the Sunday trading scheme, to the frustration of several long-standing Surrey Street figures.

Mark Watson, the Labour council’s cabinet member responsible for the scheme, claims that Sunday trading was one of the ideas to help revive the market’s fortunes put forward by traders at a hurriedly arranged consultation meeting earlier this year – so to exclude those same traders from the Sunday market appears at best perverse.

Watson is part of council leader Tony Newman’s close clique who control the Town Hall. “Surrey Street is a bustling market six days a week, and we know from speaking to local people that there’s a real demand for it to open week-round,” Watson said this week, still unable to provide any evidence for his assertion. “We’ve had a huge amount of interest from new traders, and over the next few months we expect to see Surrey Street being the place to be on Sundays.”

The number of traders and customers present this Sunday, and then in one month or six weeks’ time, will demonstrate the true demand for what some see as Watson’s gentrifying agenda.

Mark Watson: has excluded long-standing traders from Sunday Market

Mark Watson: has excluded long-standing traders from Sunday market

The Sunday market will also have to overcome the reservations of residents who live on or near Surrey Street and Church Street, some who had to endure having Port-a-Loos installed outside their homes over the Bank Holiday weekend for Pridefest. Others are concerned about the noise and disruption to their lives which the planned amplified music might cause.

They also question how the council’s already stretched market inspection and licensing staff will cope with an additional day’s trading each week. One senior member of the street market staff is leaving their council job this week.

“The cleaning contractors can’t keep the market clean or free of fly-tipping as it is,” one stall holder told Inside Croydon. “Unless there’s someone monitoring their work, who’s going to make sure the place is cleaned after trading every Sunday evening?”

There have also been reports of unlicensed food vendors operating on and around the market, with council officials failing to take any enforcement action.

“But hey, who cares if people are poisoned as long as I can buy a cup cake on a Sunday?” was the world-weary reaction of one Surrey Street regular affected by the changes.


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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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2 Responses to Sunday market in Surrey Street will stretch council’s limits

  1. Are there people in Croydon who can afford an £8 ‘artisan loaf’? The most popular shops in the Whitgift shopping area are Primark and the pound/99p shops!

  2. croydonres says:

    I went down Surrey Street last Saturday at 4 pm, and found that only a 1/5 of the market was occupied by stalls. It was a rather sad experience.

    The only area not like a ghost town was the bottom end by Crown Hill, which still had some of the atmosphere of the old cockney hectic chokka block melee of the past.

    If Croydon Council are serious about the much needed healthy-eating agenda, we should be doing all we can to encourage consumption of fresh veg and fruit. This is what Surrey Street provides –or has for hundreds of years.

    By all means, repave and relight the street, and have artsian bakers and the whole modern market contingent-but PLEASE let us have fresh fruit and veg– that is the essence of a market. Most of us who don’t work in Croydon will never get there during the week. Fruit and Veg should be there on Sundays–if not, I will not bother to go there.

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