AN icon of Croydon will return this Sunday, when the popular Croydon Market resumes trading.
But it will be doing so without one of its biggest drawcards — its food and local produce stalls.
The century-old market is back after a two-year absence and organisers hope it retains the traditions that made it a staple for local residents.
The market, which first opened in 1908, closed in 2010 after Croydon Central shopping centre took over the Kent Avenue site.
However, after more than two years of negotiations between organisers and Maroondah Council, the market has found a new home in the car park at the rear of Main Street, Croydon, between Railway Drive and Devon Street.
Organiser Fred Wallace said the market would continue the tradition of having an auction from 10am each Sunday, but traders were unable to have food stalls. That means they can't set up fruit and vegetable stalls, or coffee and tea vans, which were popular at the old site.
Maroondah Council's director for city development, Phil Turner, said market traders, the council and the Croydon Main Street Traders Association had consulted on the market's relocation and agreed the market would not offer food. "It was agreed by all parties that the market should offer only general goods and bric a brac so as to complement, rather than compete with, current traders in the area."
President of the traders association Michelle Eldridge said that in the 12 months she had held the presidency, the new market had not been raised as an issue at any of their meetings.
She said she was disappointed with the decision not to allow food stalls and she would rather the stalls competed with the Main Street shops.
"I don't see the competition as a bad thing," she said. "I come from a retail background and I believe the more shops and stalls around, the better. The new market would attract market-specific customers from different areas, so I think it would be a good thing for our Main Street traders."
Mr Wallace hopes the market returns to its former glory but admits it will take time.
"We've got about half the market [spots filled], so we won't be at full capacity." He said organisers were keen to retain old stallholders. "We've got about half of them back, but since leaving in 2010 most have set up their stalls at other sites and are comfortable there."
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