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.
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 https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-our-fairfield-halls-1
- 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