Plans to give Bermondsey’s Blue market a 21st Century makeover

Admin (09 November, 2017)

Russell Dryden, head of the Blue Bermondsey BID, has said the market needs to “up its game”

19985Russell Dryden, head of the Blue Bermondsey Business Improvement District, runs a fishmonger stall at the Blue market

The Blue market, in the heart of Bermondsey, is set to get a complete makeover to bring it into the 21st century.

A number of design layouts have been drawn up for the market as part of revamp plans, to help it compete with the likes of nearby food and drink destination, Maltby Street Market.

Russell Dryden, head of the Blue Bermondsey Business Improvement District (BID), said the market needed to “up its game”.

The 58-year-old, who has worked on the market’s fishmonger stall for more than 30 years, is brimming with ideas to breathe new life into the area.

“Many of the stallholders have been here for many years and are retiring and there’s no new blood coming through,” he told the News.

“We want to implement a strategy to help develop the market to better suit the needs of the changing demographic of the area.

“I sell fish and people seem to come for that and for a bit of fruit and veg but the markets around the Blue, like Maltby Street, have all sort of met a gap in the market.

“I feel disappointed that we’ve allowed these other markets to crop up around us – we’ve got to up our game.”

Russell Dryden, head of the Blue Bermondsey Business Improvement District

Mr Dryden said the market would hold on to its “history and tradition” but he hoped to entice a variety of stallholders, including young entrepreneurs.

“We’ve been working with a charity called Community Opportunity and have started an ‘incubator stall’,” he said.

“It’s one big stall in a marquee and inside it there are eight tables and each of those will be available to entrepreneurs to come and try their stuff. After X amount of times in there, if they feel they are developing, they can go on to a more permanent stall and people can test their ideas.

“We are also thinking about having a youth market for one day of the week and developing ‘Blue Market Saturdays’.

“We really want to see this space vibrant and I believe over the next few years it will be once the pedestrian routes are created from the new Grosvenor development [the £500m plan to build over a thousand new homes, and businesses, on part of the old Peek Freans Biscuit Factory].”

Mr Dryden said the long-term plan was to create permanent, fixed stalls and to set up a website for the market, as well as an easier registration scheme for stallholders.

The public can view and comment on the proposed design layouts for the market at a Christmas event at the Blue, off Southwark Park Road, on December 3.

The most popular design will then be submitted to the council by Christmas.

The BID was awarded funding for the project through the council’s High Street Challenge scheme last year.

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