Strong Support For Keeping Fairfield Halls Partially Open

£Emma Robertson photo

Photo tweeted by Emma Robertson 


Photo tweeted by  Addiscombe Ambassador

Audio of meeting can be heard at

A seat was reserved on the platform for Cabinet member Councillor Godfrey if he decided to come to the Save Our Fairfield public meeting attended by about 250 people on Wednesday 6 April in the Halls Arnhem Gallery.

The audience was mainly made up of people involved in putting on events at the Halls from a wide range of local groups and those who have made up the audiences, some since the Halls opened in 1962. There were only a handful of ‘the usual suspects’ at public meetings.

After initial panel presentations a 12 year old girl spoke eloquently about her involvement through school in a range of activities at the Halls. What became clear throughout the evening is that the scale of the community activities at the Halls is not well known and appreciated.

Rob Callender, a technician at the Halls, gave a detailed explanation of both the good and bad features of the refurbishment and the many practical defects of the plans.

Recently retired visiting Kingston University Professor in Structural Engineering Satish Desai, and regular member of audiences at the Halls, gave a superb professional assessment as to why closure was not necessary as early as mid-July and why a staged refurbishment was possible.

Ross Anthony of the Theatres Trust presented their view against the  total closure and about many of the details.

Campaign organiser Andy Hylton will be presenting the petition at the Council meeting on 18 April and those present were urged to attend to support both outside the Town Halal and in the public gallery.

A large collection of cash was raised towards the cost of the campaign which to date has come from the personal pockets of the lead members like Andy.

Proposed Action

Those present were urged to:

  • write to Councillors and continue to question if standard replies are received not answering the points made
  • encourage more people to sign the petition at 
  • speak to Councillors at their advice surgeries
  • join protests outside the Town Hall on the Council meeting nights on 18  April, 23  May and 18 July, and Cabinet meetings on 25 April, 20 June and 11 July.

From the platform I also suggested that the campaign should consider:

  • joining Croydon TUC’s May Day March on Saturday 30 April to highlight the Halls issues with the public and hand out leaflets on route.
  • request the London Mayor candidates and the elected Mayor from May to call in the planning application.
  • use the next two years of the Croydon Heritage Festival to have history displays and talks about the Fairfield Halls to keep knowledge about its value alive especially for the benefit of the growing number of new residents.

In the event of in the event of closure not being reversed I also suggested that the Fairfield Halls charity should be supported to establish a programme of events in venues across the Borough in partnership with other cultural organisations under the banner of Fairfield Halls.

Pressure needed on the Tories as well as Labour

While one of the Tory Councillors indicated their support for the campaign. In my comments from the platform I argued that pressure should be put on the Tories to promise that in the event of them taking control of the Council in May 2018 they should promise not to sell the building, and instead of contracting a commercial operator give the management back to the Fairfield Halls charity or a not-for profit organisation that emerges from it.

Although not mentioned at the meeting it is also important to press both sets of Councillors about the future operator. Cllr Godfrey has spoken about the venue supposedly operating with no grant at all, which to many people can only mean that they too are thinking about commercial operators.

How to Support and Keep in Touch

If you are on Twitter do have a look at all the postings about the meeting on the Save Our Fairfield site:

The campaign website is at:

The Council case for the plans can be seen at



About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy, housing and environment issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly. I am a member of the Love Norbury Residents Associations Planning & Transport Committees, and Chair of Nobury Community Land Trust. I write for Croydon Citizen at I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and edit the North East Popular Politics database. 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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One Response to Strong Support For Keeping Fairfield Halls Partially Open

  1. Pingback: Fairfield Halls – Victim of Cabinet Government | History & Social Action News and Events

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