Cllr Watson gave a brief presentation regarding the proposed development on Surrey Street, where a daily market is held. Members were advised that the sum of £500,000 was due to be spent from the capital programme on improvements to the street, as well as the same amount in match funding from Section 106 contributions. Plans include a level carriageway for all stalls to improve access, improved signage from major railway stations and improved lighting including "architectural lighting". The area is already benefiting from pieces of public art and free wifi.
Members were advised that officers were currently working on relevant planning applications. They asked whether any planning constraints were anticipated and were told that there might be some in respect of lighting, which were under discussion at the moment.
Cllr Watson explained that consultation had taken place with stallholders and businesses on the possibility of holding regular Sunday markets, and that he wished the street to be used in the evenings as well as during the day. Members were advised that local businesses were keen on having a Sunday market even in winter and that about ten stalls were regularly selling their wares on those days.
Cllr Watson explained that the market would primarily sell food, but that more variety would be encouraged. Members were advised that jewellery was also on sale at Sunday markets. He stated that the cost of hiring a stall on Sundays was only £15, which constituted a golden opportunity for businesses to experiment. Cllr Watson also suggested that food could be sold in Surrey Street in the evening, to increase footfall in the area after office hours.
Members were advised that there had been delays to implementation due to logistics and issues relating to emergency services. Public realm works were due to start in end February, to be followed by lighting and art installations.
Some concerns were expressed regarding the risk that modernising the area might destroy its character. It was pointed out that Surrey Street had the oldest market in the capital. Cllr Watson reassured the committee that designs would respect the character of the area.
A user of the Surrey Street market was invited to contribute to discussions. He stated that it was appropriate to work with stallholders to improve the area, and also encouraged the council to consult the London Street Trading Benchmarking group for their ideas on proposed designs. The speaker also expressed his concerns regarding the very limited involvement of local residents in consultation. They were worried about the impact of increased market hours on lorry access for deliveries and about the likelihood of increased noise levels.
The speaker stated that the designs for signs seemed too high, limiting visibility, and expressed disappointment at officers' opposition to their suggestions on attractive lighting designs. Cllr Watson agreed that the design for multi-coloured lamps across the street were an eye-catching idea, but explained that the first priority was to carry out works to deal with electrics, road surfacing, etc.
Members expressed their surprise at the fact that Surrey Street had not had any more regeneration, and sought assurances that the £1m allocated to the refurbishment of the street would lead to significant improvements to its appearance. In particular, they pointed out that improvements should make up for the fact that the street could be quite dark during the winter season. They asked for estimates of completion dates, which Councillor Watson undertook to provide after the meeting, and expressed the hope that the refurbishment of Surrey Street could be genuinely "future-proofed". They added that Croydon BID could be encouraged to contribute towards some elements of the refurbishment.
The needs of local residents were discussed. It was observed that their numbers had grown significantly with the building of new flats near the market. It was emphasised that the Council needed to have explicit and clearly publicised rules regarding noise tolerance levels. In addition, it was vital to enforce the installation of good sound insulation for new build properties.
1) Surrey Street Market serves the whole of Croydon and welcomes the scale of investment in Surrey Street as the area had been neglected for far too long.
2) The committee agrees that Council should listen to the views of all stakeholders including traders, customers, local businesses and residents, and should review its approach to future consultations. With the agreed underlying policy objective of ensuring there is a thriving street market.
3) The Council should not loose sight of its original ideas for the market which was to improve the look of the market though an upgrade of the stalls.
4) Agreed that the refurbishment of Surrey Street can contribute to the growth of the evening and night-time economy but the council should have regard to the impact this may have on local residents.
5) That the council should not be so prescriptive over the make-up of the Sunday Market if there is a demand from stall holders to trade on a Sunday, as older markets do need to adapt to modern shopping patterns and many people now shop for the groceries on a Sunday.
Members agreed two recommendations, set out below. They agreed to review the progress of this refurbishment initiative in future months.
1. The Council should make explicit that one of its key objectives is to ensure a thriving street market in Surrey Street.
2. The physical refurbishment of the Surrey Street area needs to be future-proofed not just for the changing needs of the market, but also for the evening/night-time economy and for one-off events. This includes the installation of street lights and power supplies that an accommodate these demands, and avoid the need for temporary supplies.
3. The Council further shows its commitment to having a thriving street market in Surrey Street by installing arches to the entrances of the market and to maximise potential benefits from the refurbishment by funding the upgrade of the market stalls.
4. The Council review its stakeholder management of market and surrounding area to give all a voice.
5. Review the trading arrangements of Sunday Market and the restrictions on who can trade.
6. When the Council reviews its licensing strategy that its key objective of a thriving Surrey Street is taken into account.