Croydon Council’s regeneration plans for Fairfield Halls and College Green given go ahead despite opposition

Croydon is one step closer to becoming the new Southbank following council approval of a regeneration scheme yesterday.

The first phase of the £44m plans to turn Fairfield Halls and College Green into London’s newest cultural hub were approved in last night’s planning committee meeting, despite opposition.

The renovation of Fairfield Halls, a venue which once hosted the Beatles, Queen, and Stevie Wonder, will be the main focus of the first phase of the regeneration programme, scheduled to finish in the summer of 2018.

Leader of Croydon Council, councillor Tony Newman, said: “It’s fantastic for Croydon.

“It’s about ensuring the iconic building that served the borough very well for the past 50 years will continue to serve it for the next 50 years.”

The plans for the first phase, which will also create 218 new homes on the site of the current multi-storey car park that will be demolished, were voted through in last night’s meeting by six votes to four.

Opposition came from Conservative councillors and residents including the campaign group Save Our Fairfield.

Robert Callender, the former technical manager of Fairfield Halls, attended the meeting and was disappointed by the council’s presentation.

Mr Callender said: “The plans for Fairfield Halls are imperfect at best and flawed at worst.

“Contrary to their intention, they could actually make the venue less flexible and harder to manage.”

Conservative councillor Helen Pollard voiced her concerns about the scheme on Twitter.

Criticism was also raised over the closure of Fairfield Halls for the duration of the works, which some claiming it should remain open during the regeneration.

But councillor Newman said: “The building was tired and starting to fail.

“With the extent of the work that is going on there, it was simply not technically possible.”

The regeneration project to create a cultural quarter in College Green and Fairfield area is one of the largest the borough has ever seen.

On top of the existing £30m funding, the government has also given Croydon a £14.2m cash injection through the Coast to Capital partnership.

This investment will be used to provide more than 2,000 new homes and a new building for Croydon College, as well as a new art gallery.

Combined with the recently opened Boxpark Croydon, the council wants to continue to develop the town’s reputation as a hub for the arts.

Labour councillor Jamie Audsley said: “It’s a historic moment for improving Croydon’s cultural offer and vibrant town centre.”

Croydon businesses are eager to make the most of the visitors that the regeneration will attract.

Owner of food truck Vietvan, Nick Moss, said: “I’m really looking forward to the new Croydon.”

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