This is Surrey Street’s Sunday “market”, as seen from the High Street just after noon this week, the sort of time when you might expect a truly vibrant and successful market to be buzzing with lunchtime trade.
The Sunday market is part of Councillor Mark Watson’s £1.1million attempts to gentrify London’s oldest street market using neon signage and “trendy” pop-up restaurants set-up in opposition to long-standing, existing businesses.
If you look really close, you can just about make out the gaggle of two or three stalls at the Church Street end of Surrey Street.
Compare this reality with what Watson said a year ago: “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.”
Even this month, the council, in its Your Croydon magazine distributed to households around the borough, claimed, “the council boosted Surrey Street by establishing the Sunday market, which focuses on street food, homemade and artisan produce, arts and crafts and retro goods”. The reality, as our photograph shows, is somewhat different.
Watson admits to spending £10,000 on a piece of neon street art, slung underneath the Surrey Street walkway, which the Surrey Street traders nor residents living in the area neither asked for, wanted, nor particularly admire.
This is the first in an occasional series which will compare Croydon Council’s claims of “delivery” with the reality.
If you would like to suggest examples of late-finished projects, badly completed works, or simply highlight where the bullshit of Jo Negrini, Tony Newman and the council does not match reality, send us a selection of photographs to illustrate this, together with a short explanation.
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