A MONTHLY market may be coming to Purley's town centre if a marketing man with a plan can raise enough money to start it.
Simon Cripps, who will be taking over from Lisa Downham as the chairman of the Purley Business Association in May, has been busy drawing up ideas to get the town back on its feet.
He said: "It's really important to raise the profile of businesses in Purley.
"Everyone just thinks of the shops you can see on the high street but the town has so many behind the scenes which need promoting; at least 200. They all need help in this climate.
"What I plan to do is run a business expo at the same time as the Purley Festival and collect enough money to start a monthly market in the town's high street.
"The expo would gather all the businesses in Purley together for networking and skill-swapping as well as seminars, hopefully in the United Reformed Church.
"It means the town's businesses can use and support each other rather than outsourcing.
"The idea is that it will collect enough funds to start a market here in the town.
"You need to pay about £1,200 to the council for things like road signs but other than that, I don't think it will cost that much.
"There has been the occasional French market there and they've done really well and been popular. I think there would be lots of people in the area and from outside who would want to set up artisan, food or craft stalls here."
Louise Bacon, the assistant manager of the Coughlans Bakery in High Street, said the market would give Purley a much needed facelift.
She said: "The town really needs cheering up. We're not as busy as we used to be and a lot of the shops around here are not doing that great.
"This would be a good way of picking the town up.
"I think a monthly market would be really good for the town and can see it working."
Ian Harris, who runs the Jolly Farmers pub on Purley Cross, thought the idea was excellent, as long as it took off.
He said: "It's been mooted for a few years now and we did try a small one in the pub car park some years ago which wasn't a great success.
"The person running it really needs to know what they're doing and make sure there are stalls selling local produce and things of interest to the public.
"If it's just a stall with loaves of bread going for £5 each, it won't work."