Fairfield Master Plan lacks vision

Grass aea between Fairfiled Halls and Croydon College

‘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.’

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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 http://thecroydoncitizen.com. 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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2 Responses to Fairfield Master Plan lacks vision

  1. joeycan says:

    Two things come to mind, albeit briefly, as I am much engaged with other issues at present.

    College Green was the subject of a public consultation a couple of years age and as far as I can see the Council hasn’t bothered to present its comments on that matter. So what is the point of suggesting new ideas for the site?

    Secondly, much time and effort was expended during the Croydon Metropolitan Centre consultation in which a “Town Square” was proposed for the area in front of the Town Hall when the office block opposite it was demolished. Why isn’t that idea in the running again as it is, indeed, in the centre of the Town?

    The Council seem to want ideas but do nothing with them, and waste public monies in the process!

  2. Andrew has received an email from Paul Scott: ‘You are absolutely right that a clear, and powerful vision is needed.’

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