Lack of affordable venues for Croydon’s cultural activities highlighted at Scrutiny

The lack of affordable venues for amateur groups was highlighted in the discussion at the Scrutiny & Strategic Oversight Committee’s discussion on 11 November on culture with Cllr Timothy Godfrey, the Cabinet member for culture, and on the background paper the Cultural Landscape of Croydon.

The report from Sean Fitzsimmons, the Chair of Scrutiny, to the 1 December full Council meeting states:

‘Councillor Timothy Godfrey, Cabinet Member for Culture Leisure and Sport attended the meeting and through his presentation and responses to questions provided information about his portfolio which had been reinstated after the local elections in June. He particularly highlighted challenges relating to budget pressures and outsourced services and issued challenges to contactors delivering parks, library and leisure services that the contracts were being monitored for good performance and that there was always the option to bring them back in-house. He was concerned that the way the contracts were modelled did not now chime with the way the council wanted to use these services as part of the broader cultural and sporting offering. Councillor Godfrey praised the very small teams working within the council to deliver culture, leisure, sport and bereavement services against this difficult background. The young people present at the meeting asked that opportunities for them to take part in cultural and sporting activities be advertised better, particularly through schools.

Members received a report on the Cultural Landscape of Croydon and heard from a number of members of the public including representatives from Croydon Summer Festival 2015, RISE-gallery, Apsara  Arts, Surrey Opera, Youth Council and Croydon Youth Arts Council. There was agreement that an enhanced cultural landscape would help make Croydon a better place to live and that it would support the borough’s regeneration and growth ambitions. The Committee heard however that groups based in Croydon had to go outside the borough to find venues to perform, that members of the public tended to look outside Croydon for events and that promoters found it hard to make events pay in Croydon. Members heard that there were a number of initiatives underway to highlight cultural opportunities in Croydon including the Summer Festival in 2015 and the development of a cultural ‘quarter’ in the town centre.

Members of the Committee welcomed the development of a Cultural Strategy for Croydon, expressed support for the proposal that a Cultural Trust be considered for Croydon and concluded that there were a number of barriers to an enhanced cultural offering including the lack of affordable venues for amateur groups, the lack of flexibility in licensing events and venues and funding.’

The full report can be accessed at

For discussion on the Cultural Landscape report and the Cultural Quarter  see



About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly, and am a member of the latter's Environment Forum. I am a member of the 5 Norbury Residents Associations Joint Planning Committee, and a Governor of Norbury Manor Primary School. I write for Croydon Citizen at I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and advise the North East People's History Project.. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour movement, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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