Surrey Street Market set to re-open for business on Jun 5

Surrey Street Market is to re-open next Monday, June 5, stall-holders and shop-keepers have been told by Croydon Council.

The stalls will be returning to Surrey Street next week

London’s oldest street market was shut down at the end of March for what was supposed to be a 10-week road resurfacing project, costing £1.1million. The works, undertaken by the council’s default road contractors, Kier, have only over-run slightly, and traders were notified last week of the return of the stalls. A re-opening street party is also planned for June 17.

During the closure, some shops reported trading down by as much as 60 per cent, as without the fruit and veg stalls present, customers were shopping elsewhere.

Surrey Street has been steadily losing regular stall-holders in recent times, down from nearly 100 at the start of this decade to barely half that recently. Fewer than two dozen stalls, those holding a trading licence with the council, were displaced to North End for the duration of the works, where they enjoyed the improved footfall and better takings. Some have expressed a reluctance to return to Surrey Street, and some shops on North End have also liked having the bustle of a street market on their doorstep.

Surrey Street, and what one market trader has described as ‘a million quid’s-worth of crazy paving’

An experiment in having Surrey Street’s street food traders moved to Queen’s Gardens flopped badly, with little passing trade to sustain any business.

And none of Surrey Street’s casual stall-holders – those who only took pitches on short terms – were been accommodated at a Croydon site during the works. It remains to be seen how many stalls are back trading on Surrey Street from next week.

Question marks remain over the £1.1million that was supposed to have been spent on the works, its real value and effectiveness.

“It looks like a million quid’s worth of crazy paving. What have they spent our money on?” one trader told Inside Croydon. “I can’t believe they’ve spent £1million on doing those little tiles. What a waste of council money, and what a waste of our time.”

One suggestion as to the high cost has been that the contractors have used additional staff to get the job finished by the June 1 deadline which was set by the council leader, Tony Newman. Weekend working and overtime payments have added to the costs. According to Mark Watson, Newman’s close council colleague who oversaw the market upgrade, £10,000 was spent on a piece of “artwork” which is suspended from the pedestrian walkway which crosses Surrey Street.

Others affected by the roadworks have been more phlegmatic about their impact.

“Having the market moved hasn’t really affected us,” said one trader based on Surrey Street, “but we do miss the stall-holders because they’re all top blokes and ladies who work on it.”

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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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5 Responses to Surrey Street Market set to re-open for business on Jun 5

  1. mikebweb says:

    This is really GREAT news, indeed unbelieveable as nobody except Mark Watson thought they would be back on time, so really well done. Shame it seems thay had to spend extra to do it, dont contracts have a get out clause that ensures that they MUST be done on time without paying any extra?
    Oh! wern’;t we going to have some entrance arches, when I last looked there was no sign of these. so that looks like being a bit of a rushed job to get then up by 5th June.
    Lets ALL have a great street party on 17th June – TIMING PLEASE? More freebies from the Cronk Brewery?
    DON’T ANYBODY dare say, wish we were back in North End!

    Bbest wishes to all


  2. davidjl2014 says:

    Another example of Labour’s Croydon Council getting it so outrageously wrong. All those lost customers have now gone elsewhere and will somehow have to be wooed back. And all because of £1m of Taxpayers money spent on nonsense. The Council should now make the trading licences 50% cheaper for two years to encourage more people to trade there in order to save the place. It wouldn’t cost as much as the crazy paving did! But no initiative shown whatsoever. Typical of this mess in “cost-a-mint walk”. They wouldn’t know a bargain in a street market if they saw one.But good luck to the loyal few that are left to try and make it work. Frankly, I hear funeral bells.

    • mikebweb says:

      WaS IT ACTUALLY Tax payers money?

      mIKE b

      • How else do you think they paid for it? Had a whip-round at the Town Hall? Councillor Watson dipped into his own pocket? Westfield made a generous public donation? The magic money tree?

        Of course it is public money that’s been used.

  3. Lewis White says:

    I look forward to visiting the upgraded market, and wish the traders well in their upgraded environment. Let’s hope it attracts many ore people in to buy at the market. My recycled shopping bags are ready and waiting for crazy impulse buys of 3 caulies for a £1, a bowl of pomegranates for 50 pence, and a tray of mushrooms for £2.

    I hope that the council now invest more public money in repaving the adjacent, depressingly grotty main drag (High Street / South End) from Katherine Street, under the flyover, down past Leon House to the nearby traffic lights. Some street trees would give the dull and often stark highway some much needed greenery.

    They’ve done a good job on London Road, in my view, but we need attention here, as it is the Southern gateway to the town centre.

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