New hope for market traders

PUBLISHED: 16:44 17 June 2009 | UPDATED: 09:24 12 August 2010

THE opening day of a new town market was hailed as a great success and more events are planned for the future. Crowds of people flocked to

THE opening day of a new town market was hailed as a 'great success' and more events are planned for the future.

Crowds of people flocked to see what was on offer at dozens of stalls in Maple Road, Penge, where traders were selling fresh and home-grown produce.

Bromley council granted a licence for a farmers' market to operate for six months from June 6, but Penge councillor John Getgood claimed it would boost the area and become a permanent fixture.

He said: "There's no doubt that the opening day of the new market was a great success.

"People were saying there hadn't been crowds like that in Maple Road for probably 20 years.

"Everything was all fresh or home produced, from fruit and vegetables to bread, cakes, even rugs and hats.

"It was good to see the return of fresh fish to the area.

"If I appear over enthusiastic myself, it's only because I believe a successful market in Maple Road provides a

different shopping experience for those who want it and will benefit the town centre overall.

"I am also sympathetic to those who want a return of a traditional, general market but, sadly, that hasn't been sustainable for several years.

"The last remaining fruit and veg trader moved to a new patch in the High Street because he was lonely.

"Like any market, if we don't use it, we'll lose it."

Maple Road Market was established in 1921 when the country was recovering from WWI.

The market went from strength to strength over the years, with several generations of families providing Penge with cheap, quality goods.

Yet during the 1980s and '90s, it went into decline.

Despite various efforts to rejuvenate the market, it continued to shrink as more stallholders retired or sold-up.

Mr Getgood added: "So many people have been asking when the market is going to return, it's hard to believe that it is actually happening.

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