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A major investment in the arts in Croydon
16/08/2012 22:16:00


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.

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Readers' Comments

On 24/08/2012 13:12:00 Robert Gibson wrote:
People will indeed look at the cultural offering of Croydon and find the cupboard pretty bare. Take the Southbank or Baltic Exchange in the North East, just two examples where culture has played a major part in the re-invention and rejuvenation of an area. But on a much smaller scale pub theatres, libraries, museums etc have an essential role to play in how a locality presents.

For a minimal expense, increased investment in all of Croydon’s libraries, including the Upper Norwood Library, the Warehouse Theatre, David Lean Cinema, The Clock House Museum would deliver much greater diversity of creative output and send a much stronger signal of Croydon Council’s appreciation of cultural provision than piling all its eggs into one basket in Fairfield Hall.

On 24/08/2012 13:30:00 C Pipe wrote:
I have enjoyed a number of visits to the Fairfield Halls, but is it more important to spend £27m on them or to invest it in running the fully professional library service which residents used to get but which is currently threatened by poor staffing, reduced opening hours, inadequate stock and the withdrawal of commitment to some branch libraries that your electorate want kept open?



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