The £30million makeover of Croydon’s Fairfield Halls – which will see the 1960s theatre and concert hall transformed into a stunning state of the art performance venue – is now well underway.
A progress report to the council’s cabinet published today (7 November) at http://www.croydon.gov.uk outlines the extensive preparations that have been going on behind the hoardings since Fairfield’s temporary closure began in July 2016.
With dimensional and asbestos surveys complete and a package of measures to protect the building’s assets in place, the dated building is now being completely stripped out ahead of its full refurbishment.
“It’s very exciting to see such an important and well-loved Croydon landmark on a journey of transformation.
“Fairfield Halls has a rich history in entertainment, yet it is a tired building in urgent need of repair and modernisation.
“We want to put culture at the heart of Croydon’s growth agenda – that is why we are investing in Fairfield’s future at a time when local authority budgets are more stretched than ever.
“The exceptional design for the refurbishment will ensure that the building retains its valued architectural heritage while becoming a venue fit for the 21st century and a destination centre for the arts in South London.”
Councillor Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport
The transformation of Fairfield Halls is part of the first phase of a wider development of the College Green area being undertaken by Brick by Brick, the development company established by the council.
The aim is to create a vibrant new cultural quarter which will become a landmark destination for the arts in South London and revitalise this key site in the town centre.
The plans include a new, high-quality landscaped public space, a new 200,000 sq ft college, a stunning 2,000 m sq art gallery, niche retail and office space as well as around 2,000 much-needed homes – all with the new Fairfield Halls at its heart.
The plans thus far have been well-received and architects Rick Mather picked up a coveted New London Architecture award in the Conservation and Retrofit category in September.
The cabinet report explains that Croydon Council’s planning committee is expected to consider the wider development plans in January 2017.
The report also updated the cabinet on the timetable for finding a new operator for Fairfield Halls, which should be announced in May next year following a procurement process.
Cllr Godfrey said: “We are looking for a qualified operator that can deliver the high-quality arts programme, the community and locally-driven events and the warm and welcoming environment this fantastic new venue and all of Fairfield’s customers deserve.
“We are undertaking a rigorous procurement process to help ensure we find an operator who can offer all this and a financially sustainable model for the future.”
The refurbished Fairfield Halls is due to open in 2018. Visit https://fairfieldcroydon.wordpress.com/ for information, news and updates on the modernisation of this historic venue, plus a guide to what’s on in Croydon while the Fairfield Halls is closed for refurbishment.