Market Place Sutton

Market Place Sutton, previously called the Sutton Northern Gateway project is within the Exchange Quarter between Marshall Road and Benhill mapRoad/Greenford Road, and is the northern gateway to the pedestrian part of the Sutton town centre. It includes the pedestrianised high street, the alley ways and excludes the redesigning of the road layouts of Marshall Road and Benhill Avenue/Greenford Road.

The council secured just over £500,000 of central government funding to help jump start improvements to the northern end of the pedestrianised High Street. The market has been a feature of this end of the High Street for many years. The new Entrepreneurs’ Market is also thriving in this area. Therefore as part of this project and going forward the area will be called MARKET PLACE SUTTON.

The key objectives of the Sutton Northern Gateway project are:

  • To improve the environment
  • Improve the image of the Sutton Northern Gateway Area (the Project Area)
  • Encourage new “desire lines”
  • Increase business within the area and attract inward investment into the area.

The objectives will be met by creating a comfortable, vibrant pedestrian experience, increasing the footfall and by improving the trade draw of the Project Area.

Previous evidence

In order to help shape the project and understand what the funding should be spent on the council has done lots of research and early consultation as follows:

Footfall Surveys (Colliers International, 2015) 

Key Findings: There is a significant drop in the number of people between the northern entrance of the St Nicholas Centre and the number of people coming into Market Place, Sutton; the lowest level of footfall into the area was from the north from Marshall’s Road; a significant proportion of people appear to arrive into the High Street via the ASDA entrance implying that there is a link between the free car park and access to the High Street.

Independent Permanent Market Health Check (NABMA, 2015) 

Key Findings: The lack of regular traders creates a large under-utilised space within the designated area for the market; market management and checking compliance with legislation and licence agreements is poor; there is no market business plan or any promotional material; the look and feel of the market is very poor; the area of the market is of degraded quality and does not help complement the market; footfall was very poor during the site visit and the problem seemed to be the ‘invisible barrier’ caused by the need to cross Benhill Road and the impact of the actual barrier which creates a visual separation.

Independent Pan Disability Accessibility Audit (Inclusive Access and Training Services, 2015)

Key Findings: There are a range of pan-disability issues within the project area and these should be addressed where possible through improvements to the public realm.

Northern End of Sutton Street Survey- Consultation Report (Retail Revival Ltd.)

Key Findings: over 70 per cent of respondents visit Market Place Sutton to shop and ASDA and Argos are the key destinations. The remaining 30 per cent of respondents come to the area either to meet people or as a cut through to the rest of the High Street. Only two per cent come specifically to visit the market. The perception of the area is poor and over 40 per cent feel that the area does not meet their shopping needs well. The appearance and cleanliness of the shops was considered to be poor although the quality of service was felt to be good. When asked what changes should be made, 46 per cent of respondents said shop fronts should be improved and 23 per cent said they wanted new street furniture and street trees. When asked what would attract people to the area (people were able to answer more than one category) 54 per cent said improved shops and activities, 29 per cent activities and events particularly for families and young people, 29 per cent wanted more frequent markets and 25 per cent said improvements to the existing market. Finally, the amount of time people spend in Market Place Sutton is low and anecdotally people felt that this end of the High Street was the ‘poor relation’. However, equally clear was the view that grant funding should not be spent on  statues or be ‘wasted’ on replacing paving in the main pedestrianised area.

Sutton Northern Gateway Consultation Report, September 2015 (LBS) – to test a range of possible options for the project and gauge opinion about concepts.

Sutton Northern Gateway Consultation Report, September 2015 (LBS) – APPENDIX

There were:

  • four workshops with hard to reach groups;
  • focus groups with stakeholders, shopkeepers and market traders;
  • one to one meetings;
  • 4,000 leaflets were distributed to advertise two events on the High Street where staff were available to talk through ideas
  • Attendance at Sutton Local Committee on several occasions.

 Key Findings: Again, people told us that they wanted to see more events and activities on the high street, better shop fronts and upper facades, improved seating and landscaping and colourful interventions in the alley ways. They were clear that there is not enough for young people.


Final decisions about the project, taking into account views expressed and technical design requirements, are made by the Executive Head of Economic Development, Planning and Sustainability in consultation with the Chair of the Housing, Economy and Business Committee.

However, in order to ensure that there is a widespread understanding of the Project a Ward Councillors’ Group, and, a Stakeholders’ Group have been established which meet at key milestone points to comment on proposals going forward.


Jan Kattein Architects and Project Centre were commissioned in April 2016 to design and deliver a range of interventions.

The budget is relatively small compared to other regeneration projects, and therefore the council needs to make sure that it is spent carefully so that that there is the greatest impact. In view of this, and having considered the consultation feedback the architects were asked to focus change on:

  1. improving shop fronts and upper facades to make the area and the shop units look attractive and clean;
  2. tidying up the public realm and include opportunities for soft landscaping; make the alleyways feel safer and perceived to be safe gateways into the High Street;
  3. running a series of events in order to test the appetite for such events, to facilitate any future programme of events should they prove to be a successful, and to test the layout of space required for public realm.

1. Shopfronts

Better and cleaner shopfronts

In order for shop front schemes to have any impact experience has shown that a parade of shops need to be improved as a whole rather than take a piecemeal approach. The architect has therefore worked closely with shop owners from Tim’s Palace to The Chinese Herbalist to prepare designs for new shop fronts.

A ‘before’ and proposed ‘after’ is shown below.

shopfront before


shopfront after


Planning applications have been approved for these new shopfronts and the tenders will be on Pro Contract from 31 October 1016 for a period of 4 weeks. The work is expected to start in early 2017.

Upper facades

Colour in the High Street and well maintained upper facades

Again, this type of change only really has an impact if a whole parade is changed rather than one or two units across the area. Therefore, the architect has worked closely with the owners of a parade of units to look at improvements to the buildings.

A ‘before’ and possible ‘after’ is shown below.


2. Public Realm

New street furniture and street trees to help brighten Market Place Sutton.

The architect has looked at the current street furniture – there is a variety of style of seats, bins, benches and bike racks which make the area ‘feel unloved’. Therefore it is proposed to introduce a standard palette of street furniture.

You said the High Street is long and therefore you wanted more places where people could sit (you said this was really important for frail and elderly residents) rather than having all the seats outside Asda. Similarly, cycle groups said they wanted bike stands in front of a number of different shops rather than just outside Asda.

A layout has been proposed and you will have an opportunity to comment on the proposals at the consultation event on 10 September 2017.

You said you wanted a gateway feature at the Marshall’s Road entrance to Market Place, Sutton. Some of you asked if a metal arch would be possible.

The architects costed up an arch and unfortunately, due to the limited budget, it is not affordable. However, the architects agree that there is a need for a feature at this end of the High Street and, following demand from the Entrepreneurs’ Market stall holders, have designed a permanent kiosk that can activate the area both during the day and at night. As well as providing a trading space, the kiosk has been designed with a fretwork metal lavender pattern and will be internally lit so that at night it will cast a playful light.

You said you wanted street trees to soften the feel of the area.

The architect has been working with shop keepers, the council’s tree officer and Highways Team over where best to locate the trees.  Some shopkeepers said that they were worried that the trees would block CCTV camera views which could impact on safety. We have worked with the Safer Neighbourhood Team and shopkeepers over the best place to put the trees and have agreed to pay for an additional CCTV camera.

3. Activities

1) Finger Knitting and Yarn Bombing – 2 July’ 17

The purpose of this activity was to raise the profile of the regeneration/consultation events coming up in September in a fun and interactive way.

Samia Art (a local arts organisation) was commissioned to deliver this activity.yarn bomb 1

Before the installation of the yarn bombing Knit N Natter sessions were organised in community workshops at Sutton Carers Centre, Sutton South Hello and Sutton Women’s Centre. These workshops helped the project reach out to communities that do not normally get engaged in regeneration/consultation events.  During these sessions participants learnt about the regeneration project and created elements of the yarn used in the installation.

The yarn bombing took place on the same weekend as the new Entrepreneurs Market and Samia Art and council officers continued to work with the community on the High Street to talk about the regeneration project.

Vox pops from passers-by and those involved in the early outreach work:

  • “It’s great that the council are doing creative and different things, we’ll keep an eye out for all the events they’ve got coming up.”;
  • “It’s nice to see something colourful in the High Street, it makes such a difference”;
  • “Yarn bombing in Sutton – wow, finally the council are getting funky”;
  • “It’s really creative. I’d like to take part more often”;
  • “It’s the first time she (a participant at ESOL) spoke in English, and with such enthusiasm. Amazing. Let’s have more of such sessions”; and
  • “We saw this happening overnight, wonderful. What a great way to make a difference to the area, really brought a smile to people’s’ faces, well done”.

Vox pops from shop keepers:

  • Cash for Gold: “It looks great! Amazing that it’s stayed up so long and hasn’t been destroyed. Yes we heard about the regeneration plans and it is needed”
  • Nail Bar: “We love what you are doing”
  • Asda: “I just popped out on my lunch break and saw it all, so colourful, what a difference it makes”;
  • TAZZA: “We loved it, would be nice to see more of this type of thing happening”

Samia Art posted video clips and photos on their Facebook page which has a reach of 4,500 people and had 211 reactions, comments, shares. The twitter analytics also had 241 engagements.

The link to the video can be found here

2) The Big Dance Bus – 9 July’16

This Mayor of London sponsored event is touring around London Boroughs bringing professional dancers from the English National Ballet and Sadler’s Wells to a “pop up ballroom and readymade rave” with its own dance floor, complete with DJ, MC and sound system. It had families – children, their parents and grandparents – moving and shaking for most of the day.

dance bus  dance bus 2

Vox Pops:

  • “What a joyful surprise – it’s so good to see everyone dancing in the streets”;
  • “I don’t want it to end”
  • “What a day – enjoyed myself thoroughly”

3) Youth Games Day – 7 August’ 16: On offer were fun activities including giant chess, jumbo Jenga and street crazy golf. It was a fun day for families and demonstrated a huge appetite for such activities on the high streets.


4) Open air cinema – 18 August’ 16: Residents were able to take a tour of Sutton on film across the last century with a selection of rare archive clips, many won’t have been seen for decades. In spite of a very windy day, it attracted many people who watched film clips from the days gone by.


5) Crafternoon in the Alleyways – 10 September’ 16: This was an interactive consultation event where the community was involved in creating art and testing ideas for light installation in the alleyways to test the commissioned artists’ ideas about possible changes.


People were also invited to comment in an online survey from 10-23 September 2016 on the artwork, lighting installation and seating that they wanted to see in Market Place Sutton.

Temporary artwork was also installed in the alleyway next to St. Alice Hospice. It will remain in place until early next year when it will become permanent.

The consultation on the art work closed on 23 September 2016. More than 60 people gave their comments and valuable suggestions on their choice of art work and lighting installation in the alleyways, and seating.

The results of the survey are available on the website

The final designs of art work are reproduced below:


Proposed artwork in alleyway next to Winning Post Pub


Artwork in alleyway next to St. Alice Hospice

More events were held in November before the winter break.

6) DJ afternoon- 5th November’16 (11-4 pm), where visitors to the High street were invited to dance to diverse mix of music from 60s to electro swing to funky house by several DJs showcasing. Young boys and girls from local organisations such as Urban Interface Dance Group performed to the music, much to the delight of the visitors to the High street.

DJ afternoon1

In addition, there were workshops teaching how to use fabric, wool and felt to make Christmas decorations.

DJ afternoon2

7) Stake boarding- 12th November (11-4pm): Unfortunately, the event was washed off due to inclement weather. 


Start of construction work

Works to Market Place Sutton are finally set to begin in January 2017. The works comprise of two phases, namely

Phase 1: improvements to seven shop fronts and ten upper floor facades; and

Phase 2: Improvements to public realm comprising of landscaping, new seating, construction of a kiosk, and lighting installation and artwork in the alleyway.

The tender for Phase 1 was advertised on 30 October 2016 for three weeks. Six tenders were received, and were evaluated by a panel consisting of officers of Opportunity Sutton and the architects.

Mulalley & Co. emerged as the most competitive bid and have been awarded the contract. The work is set to start in January 2017 to be completed by May 2017.

The design of 2nd phase has been finalised and work will begin in February 2017. This will be undertaken by the Council’s term contractors RJ Dance.

We shall keep you updated as the work progresses.

We also apologise for any inconvenience that will be caused due to the construction work.


We are now providing monthly updates on the works in Market Place Sutton. Please find them below: