People are being invited to sharpen their pencils and help shape plans for the Fair Field – a new multi-million-pound public space coming to Croydon’s town centre – at a series of free events throughout February.
The ambitious scheme is the next phase of development in the town’s emerging cultural quarter and will provide a stunning setting for Croydon’s iconic arts centre, Fairfield Halls, which reopened last year following a major refurbishment. It will create a vibrant civic space, improve links through the town centre and become a destination for existing communities, new residents and visitors alike.
Registration is now open at www.croydon.gov.uk/theFairField to join walking workshops at the site between Fairfield Halls and Croydon College. Brutalist architecture expert and Croydon author John Grindrod will lead events on 13 and 20 February, while Croydon’s TURF Projects will be facilitating on 20 and 29 February. Participants at the Turf workshops will be provided with drawing materials and invited to sketch sites and projects around Croydon.
Would-be designers of all ages will have the opportunity to join a family-friendly event on 29 February, Cut-out-Croydon, which is being led by the design team.
Historically known as the Fair Field, then later College Green and Fairfield Gardens, the site was Croydon’s venue for social activity and entertainment, hosting fairs and performances until the arrival of the railways in the 1860s. It was developed into a public space in the 1960s. The recent design competition called for a transformation and revival, built on the rich heritage of the area.
The new scheme, funded and delivered by Croydon Council, will restore the site to its former glory, and return it to its much-valued use as a civic space for communities and visitors to enjoy. A multi-disciplinary team of world-class architects, landscape architects, designers, public art experts, engineers and other specialists were selected following a competitive bidding process last year.
Early ideas for the Fair Field include a naturally-filtered ‘water mirror’ – a shallow pool with springs reflecting Croydon’s skyline – surrounded by greenery, creating a stunning new space. When dry, the space could play host to performances, screenings or markets. Public art gateways and innovative lighting installations would light up the area, welcoming visitors to the new public space and the Fairfield Halls. Together with new landscaping linking to The Queen’s Gardens and East Croydon Station, it will help to join up the town centre’s main public spaces.
Plans are due to go to the council’s planning committee in spring, with work set to start on site in 2021.
“Croydon’s new cultural quarter is a place for everyone to enjoy themselves and our vision for the Fair Field is as an exciting, vibrant destination in its own right. We want as many people as possible to help shape the plans for this new public space so that it reflects Croydon’s unique energy, creativity and vibe, and these events are a fantastic opportunity for residents of all ages to get involved.” ”
Councillor Paul Scott, cabinet member for environment, transport and regeneration
Stuart Cade, MICA Director, said: “Our design ideas are a distillation of the essence of Croydon in all its diverse forms. The Fair Field will be at the heart of the exciting transformation of central Croydon, providing space for relaxation and play and critical new routes across the Fair Field.”
The design team for Fair Field includes MICA, OOZE, Charles Holland Architects, Adam Nathaniel Furman, eHRW, and DHA Design Services Ltd, Gardiner & Theobald and Wasser Werkstatt.