Croydon's Portas Town Team threaten court action over market regeneration
1:20pm Wednesday 20th February 2013 in News
The regeneration of Croydon’s historic market could end up in a court dispute due to a disagreement over its status.
Croydon’s Portas Town Team (PTT) - a Government funded group to regenerate Croydon's Old Town - have targeted the rejuvenation of Surrey Street Market as one of their main priorities.
But the group think the future of the market, which has existed for more than 700 years, is at risk due to bureuacracy.
They want to see the town recognised by Croydon Council as a charter market.
Charter status would mean less regulation by the council over what happens there and more options on how it could be developed and would facilitiate PTT's plan to attract a market management company to run the market.
Flagship London market Borough Market is run in such a way.
However the council is insisting the market is a highways market - because it has a road running through it.
The PTT dispute this saying Surrey Street Market has a Royal Charter dating back to 1276.
They said taking the council to to court to get the charter status would be a last resort for the group but it is something they were willing to do.
Kez Hassan, chairman of the PTT, said cabinet members are due to discuss the future of the market at their next meeting.
Mr Hassan said: "We don’t want to go down this route but the last resort is to challenge them over the market status. We feel this is an important point."
"The whole point of the Portas project is to cut out the amount of red tape. If it means going to central government then we will do. If it means going to court, we will do that.
"We will go and challenge the council in the court saying this is not fair, this is not right, what you are doing is killing business."
If an agreement cannot be reached with the council by May, the group will look to appeal to central Government, then go to the courts.
The Portas regenration scheme is being run in 12 towns around the country. Croydon’s team was given £100,000 to inject life into the Old Town Sector.
Croydon’s PTT want to revitalise the market, set up a community hub, have a free wi-fi zone and set up a loan fund for market traders.
A Croydon Council spokesman said: "The Town Team only published their proposal for bringing in a private management company a few weeks ago and we’re now looking carefully at how this idea could be best taken forward so that a decision can be made at the earliest possible time."