Croydon Council has revealed details of its plan to turn Croydon College, Fairfield Halls and the surrounding College Green area into one of London’s leading cultural and educational destinations.
The first phase of the plans would see the construction of a state-of-the-art college, bringing new facilities for all of Croydon College’s faculties including for the renowned school of art, on the Barclay Road Annex site.
Complementing this, the neighbouring Fairfield Halls will be transformed into a modern concert and events venue, designed to attract world-class acts and become the focal point for Croydon’s creative and cultural scene.
The venue’s 1,800 seat Concert Hall will retain its acoustic integrity, but will be fully refurbished to include new seating and modernised backstage and servicing areas. The rest of the 1962 building, including the 755 seat Ashcroft Theatre, will be refurbished to contain flexible performance and arts spaces.
A new mezzanine-level restaurant is also planned, alongside bar and seating areas on the ground floor leading to outside areas on the transformed College Green public square.
To allow this transformation to take place, Fairfield Halls will be closed for the duration of the redevelopment.
Cllr Tony Newman, leader of the council, said: “These are exciting times for Croydon and these visionary plans will put the borough well and truly on the cultural map.
“Croydon is proud of Fairfield’s heritage but it’s time to look to the future. This ambitious borough wants to provide a cultural and educational offer to rival London’s best. We want to return the Fairfield to its former glory by creating a contemporary venue and cultural quarter that will attract artists and entertainers from across the globe.
“It’s time for Fairfield to once again take centre stage and play a major part in Croydon’s ambition of becoming the region’s go-to place for the arts, culture and entertainment.”
Cllr Timothy Godfrey, the council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “This will bring about a cultural renaissance in Croydon, breathe new life into Fairfield Halls and transform College Green into a thriving quarter where people want to go out in their free time.
“This is also great news for Croydon College, with plans for a fantastic new state-of-the-art home which will be a major part of the redevelopment of the area.
“We are undergoing massive, unprecedented regeneration for Croydon, and this will ensure our cultural and educational offer matches that of the huge growth taking place in the borough.”
Frances Wadsworth, Principal and CEO at Croydon College, said: “We are thrilled to be at the heart of proposed developments that will be truly transformational for Croydon, the College Green area and even more significantly for learning and opportunity for Croydon residents. The proposal that we work with the council to build a brand new state-of-the-art College is a fantastic opportunity. This, coupled with further exciting developments and expansion with Sussex University, will all contribute to making Croydon a thriving centre of opportunity and development. We will of course, in the meantime continue to invest in our current buildings and ensure high quality state of the art facilities for all of our students.”
The wider plans for College Green will see the construction of hundreds of new homes of a mix of tenures and new shops and restaurants.
New pedestrian paths and squares will be created, linking the area to East Croydon station, the town centre, Surrey Street and the wider borough.
The project team includes Rick Mather Architects, a practice known for its work on the Royal Festival Hall in central London and the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith, and local consultants Mott MacDonald.