Local communities must be at the heart of Croydon’s regeneration, according to four key players in the borough’s ongoing transformation.
Steve Parish, Chairman of Crystal Palace FC, Michael Purefoy, Sales & Marketing Director of R&F Properties, Kathryn Morley, CEO of OnSide Youth Zones and Neil Chandler, Venue Director at Fairfield Halls all took part in an engaging panel session titled ‘Croydon’s Next Generation’ at the Develop Croydon Conference.
Chairman Mark Easton, BBC Home Editor, quizzed the panellist on their respective projects and how they will help the future generations of Croydon.
“We’re tremendously excited to be part of the massive regeneration going on in Croydon. The plans to redevelop Selhurst Park are obviously important for the football club, but also we hope for the wider community,” said Parish, of Palace’s proposals to build a new Main Stand, increasing the overall capacity to 34,000 and creating a world-class sports facility in the borough.
“We are hoping it’s a catalyst for good things around the stadium and its surrounding area.”
Chandler said the vision for the Fairfield Halls, set to reopen its doors next year following a £30million refurbishment, was to create a venue that would “have something for everyone”.
“The Fairfield Halls I had in mind when I started this project isn’t the Fairfield Halls we will now deliver,” he said. “We have talked extensively with the local community and we’ve learnt a lot about what they want and that is what we will deliver.
“We will have a theatre, concert hall, live music studios, music school, a business lounge, it will be truly world-class facility, with the local community at its heart.”
Purefoy talked about R&F’s ambitious plans for Croydon town centre. Phase one of their project at Queen’s Square is already underway – converting the former Nestle Tower into a huge residential development.
Phase two of their project, currently at the public consultation stage, will see the rest of the town centre site transformed into a new ‘creative quarter’ with a new Town Square.
“We want to restore that area to its rightful place in the heart of Croydon, giving the community a place to come together for big civic events. We’re really trying to open up that area of the town,” he said.
“We will be surrounded by Westfield to one side and the high street, so we really need to deliver something different. To create an area that will be used and be open for the local community.”
Morley is overseeing the new state-of-art OnSide Youth Zone due to open next year in Whitehorse Road, Thornton Heath.
OnSide have delivered 10 of these youth clubs in the north of the country, but the Croydon site – named by local young people as ‘Legacy’ – will be the first in the south East.
“Our sites elsewhere are helping massively in those communities,” she said. “They give young people a way out and create really strong links between young people and their local communities.”
After watching a video, promoting OnSide’s work and the benefits the projects have, Parish commented: “That is the most exciting I have heard in the whole of this Croydon regeneration.”