‘Without a vision you will only get a mish mash and unused
space just like there is now with most of the College Green. ‘
So says Croydon Transition Town and the Historic Croydon Group member Andrew Kennedy in an email Planning Committee Chair Paul Scott about the pre-application proposals for the Fairfield Halls/Croydon College area being discussed by the Committee on this evening.
‘Apart from George Street which will inevitably have to be
a mixture of commercial use and for the continued provision
of some size of underground car park.
What vision do you have for this space?’
Andrew suggests that these are some of the possible visions.
1) College Green surrounded by a University or art or technical campus. The green still open to the public but populated by a vibrant community of students. With the possibility for other uses such as for markets and fairs.
2) A central square, cobbled or paved that is used like a typical European town square. Flanked by a mixture of important civic and well used leisure and commercial buildings, inward facing, using the Fairfield Halls with a new northern facade, a court building, restaurants and bars and a hotel. The square with a multitude of uses from a market, a concert stage. With temporary access to vehicles for the setting up of stands etc but essentially pedestrianised. Think of any old European City. Bruges or Ghent for example but many others.
3) A Covent Garden type of covered market area with additional performance areas around it. Once again a variety of buildings facing into it serviced from the streets behind.
‘Croydon doesn’t have a “Market Square” or “Town Square”.
This is your chance to create one albeit not in the centre of the town.
But whether you go for an academic theme or an arts and leisure
theme or a market theme, you need to make a definite decision
else you will be left with a non-space such as the Green is now.’
Finally Andrew says: ‘The key is to provide a space useable by the public and then let the public use it. Yes, thoroughfares north south and east west, the square is cut off now but as per the European model you must also allow temporary surface access for transport to set up fairs and markets and performance space and provide places for people to sit and to congregate. In this case too, beware of the wind, its a potential Siberia there.’