Traders returned to Kingston’s ancient market place this morning as builders raced against time to finish their work.
It is deadline day for Kingston Council, which has promised business as usual from today, after pushing back its initial deadline from April 13.
Fruit and veg sellers had opened their new stalls when the Surrey Comet visited this morning, but at least one trader is still in Memorial Gardens.
Lance Fleming wastes no time in getting started. Photo: Jon Sharman
Miran Lee, owner of Japanese food stall Namu, said she would not be able to move until Wednesday because her new stall is not ready.
She added: “We got our key at 5.30pm last night. It was supposed to be 1pm. We can’t move today. I think we need maybe two days.”
Workers install signs as shoppers walk past. Photo: Jon Sharman
But Lance Fleming, at Tony’s Fruit and Veg, was positive about moving back in.
He said: “We’re getting all the passing trade back again now. That’s what we’ve missed.
“It just feels weird being back in this area.”
Workers lay down paving opposite the Druid's Head pub. Photo: Jon Sharman
This morning paving in the lower end of the marketplace was yet to be completed, and finishing touches were being made to new, modern stalls.
Diggers trundled through as builders toiled behind the now-familiar yellow railings, and others cleaned the paving with a pressure washer.
Helmut Pflueger shared this time lapse video of the Kingston market place works today.
Helmut Pflueger, 51, head chef at Woody’s bar, said: “It is just outside my window so every morning I saw the development and I had an app on my phone which dates and records the image.
“It shows the amazing transformation from what it was before, with the old market stalls and garbage behind, to the plaza and the cool stores.
“It is a big improvement. Something needed to be done and I think it works.”
Kingston Markets tweeted its own pictures this morning showing a different view of the progress of the works.
One of its pictures showed the paved area in front of the Market House with the word "Done!".
Photo: Kingston Markets
Another picture from Kingston Markets shows people trying out the new chairs.