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Croydon 'cultural quarter' plans are revived

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PROVISION of a cultural quarter for the town centre is being put back at the top of the council's agenda.

Past proposals from the previous Conservative-run council were first mooted eight years ago but have since stalled.

On Monday, the council's cabinet is being asked to approve an ambitious scheme which the now Labour-controlled authority believes will help drive forward the town centre's regeneration and breathe new life into the Fairfield Halls.

Councillor Timothy Godfrey, the cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: "We will be looking to bring forward proper timelines for the development and that needs to be done by autumn.

"This is all about delivery and this time, it is not going to get bogged down."

Redeveloping College Green will be central to the success of the quarter and provide a through route to and from East Croydon Station, connecting visitors with Queen's Gardens, the Clocktower complex, Surrey Street and Exchange Square.

It is planned to integrate Fairfield Halls into the scheme, potentially including a new entrance on the Ashcroft Theatre side of the building.

The scheme also includes the provision of up to 500 homes, along with shops, restaurants possible education and business use.

It is understood the existing Fairfield multi-storey car park is the area potentially earmarked for the homes development.

The intention is that the transformation of College Green will dovetail with the planned homes and hotel scheme next to Croydon College, which was approved by the council's planning committee last week.

Cllr Godfrey said the planned refurbishment of Fairfield Halls would still go-ahead as a stand alone project.

Around £30 million for the work is lined-up as part of the council's forward funding budget, although it is hoped the cost can be brought down.

In the meantime, short-term improvements to Fairfield will be in place by the autumn, including a new-state-of-art cinema for up to 1,000 people using the ground floor of the concert hall, screening blockbuster movies and live streaming events.

There will also be a new studio space for regular comedy and entertainment events and the Arnhem Gallery is being modernised to attract a wider range of conferences, exhibitions, and events.

Cllr Godfrey added: "Having a vibrant cultural quarter can spearhead the wider regeneration and economic development of the town centre."

Croydon 'cultural quarter' plans are revived


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