Bermondsey Market, a London institution since the 1950s, is to change its current format, downsizing from three to two separate trading areas next month.
The move, part of a Southwark Council bid to revitalise the area, is in part a reaction to the decline in the size of the market.
By condensing the stalls, the council hope to make the market look busier.
In a letter from The Street Trading and Enforcement Section of Southwark Council, dated February 21, 2003, dealers were informed that the street trading area adjoining Bermondsey Street would re-open as car parking for traders.
From April 1 all licence holders and casuals will be accommodated on the area of the market adjoining Tower Bridge Road, or on the area known as The Triangle.
Recent congestion charges and the implementation of additional parking controls were cited as the reasons behind the council’s recent announcement, but the decreasing size of the market was clearly also an issue.
“Ten years ago I used to get myself lost in this market,” said Jo Scutts, Senior Street Trading Officer, “but times have changed. To move the dealers into a smaller space will give the appearance of a busier, more compact market, rather than the skeleton it has become.”
Southwark Council promise every effort has been made to ensure that those traders who want to will retain their current neighbours.
According to Ms Scutts, 99 per cent of the dealers were happy with the change (“the new bays should ease some of the current parking difficulties”) although one long-time dealer, Ron Goodman, was very upset and has left the market after 35 years. He told the Gazette that he believes the changes will kill it off.
The long-awaited redevelopment of Bermondsey Square, managed by the London-based development company Urban Catalyst, is still scheduled to go ahead, although the developers continue to await planning permission. Project director Alastair Gaskin told the Gazette that the company were carrying out archaeological investigations in conjunction with English Heritage. Parts of the abbey on Long Lane are underground and English Heritage have to be sure that any development work around the area, will not affect these subterranean heritage sites.
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