Welcome news today that Croydon Council is advertising for a design and construction team to carry out a £27 million refurbishment of the Fairfield Halls.
The Council has had to close the Clocktower complex because of the need to make savings in the light of cuts in the funding it receives from the Government (which are in turn part of the package of measures necessary to deal with the budget deficit we inherited from the previous Government). With the Warehouse Theatre going into administration, it looks like the Fairfield Halls will be the sole major venue for the arts in the borough.
In many ways, it is a great venue - the Concert Theatre is acoustically outstanding - but in its 50th year it is in major new of investment.
The Council has spent £1million over the last 18 months on the building's foyer area, a new boiler and essential preliminary technical studies but it is now proposing a much more major investment as a sign of its commitment to the arts in Croydon. This is important - if we want to attract people to live here and companies to invest here, one of the things they will look at is our cultural offer. Significantly improving the building will allow the management of the Fairfield Halls to attract better performances.
The contract is due to commence in February 2013, designs should be made public by July next year and work will start to the exterior of the building in early 2014. and finish around spring 2017.