Croydon Council has got itself in a right pickle over its podcast of the Council meeting held on Monday 18 April at which Andy Hylton presented the Save Our Fairfield campaign 11,000+ signature petition for a phased refurbishment of Fairfield Halls. It has had to post an apology:
‘Apologies, due to a technical error the webcast stops and starts – unfortunately some feed has been lost.
A transcript of the statement made by Mr Andy Hylton is available to download under the resources tab on this screen.’
and make his speech available on its website.
“Whilst we commend the Council’s proposed investment and ambitious vision for Croydon, we don’t support the idea of a complete closure of Fairfield Halls.
Leaving Croydon without a major venue large enough to support the events, concerts, schools and the community, for more than two years is not acceptable.
But, how can any proper decisions be made without a future operator on board?
And, If this is a commercial operator, will community groups still have affordable access?
Keeping Fairfield open throughout the refurbishment, and retaining the links to the community, will make Croydon a happier, healthier place to live. Closing the amenity for two years will risk breaking this valuable link.
Fairfield is perfect for phasing: The THREE venues allow at least ONE to remain open, at any time, and mean that shows, events and community access can continue.
With a phased approach you get:
– Continuity of trading and revenue
– Retention of key staff and expertise
– Retention of relationships with promotors, artists and hirers
– Engagement with the new & prospective audiences
– Minimum loss of community access especially for schools and youth events
Instead you throw all of this away, making staff redundant, without any thought for their future. The cost of getting this back will far outweigh the costs of a phased refurbishment.
If the project is delayed during closure, leaving a half- complete building, re-opening in two years may have to be phased anyway. A phased refurbishment will give the same end results but without losing so many local jobs and the valuable community access to it, for two years.
Councillor Newman, you recently said to me this Council meeting “wasn’t real life”
‘Real life’ is seventy full-time workers redundant and one-hundred and fifty additional job losses.
‘Real life’ is over eleven-thousand young people each year missing out on the chance to engage and perform on the professional stage at Fairfield.
Two years, is too long in the ‘real lives’ of Croydon young people.
The Arts Council England say:
“We believe every child, should have a chance to enjoy the arts as part of growing up. That means making, seeing and doing, both within school and in our galleries, museums and theatres.”
We agree, and ALL the young people of Croydon deserve access to the cultural benefits, which Fairfield currently provides. Losing these for two years is completely unnecessary.
Arts & Culture is not a tap you turn off and on. Continuous participation promotes good health and a positive impact on general well-being.
Art and culture can help us tackle society’s greatest challenges. We should all remember when the streets of Croydon were on fire.
Arts & Culture bring communities together, combat social exclusion, reduce loneliness and alleviate depression & anxiety among people.
Fairfield is a crucial hub to many of these people and we all have a social responsibility to put people’s best interests before developers best interests.
We urge the Council to consider the end user, and involve the future venue operator at this design stage, and to review the current plans as advised.
Phase the refurbishment as all our professional advisers including the Theatres Trust advocate. Keep our creative groups and audiences alive in the venue Consider an additional temporary venue in Croydon during all works. Fairfield must maintain a vital cultural presence in the centre of our town and keep our community together.
Keep Fairfield Halls open, so it will continue to be viable into the future and bring joy to the community through the long years of Croydon’s regeneration.”
The speeches on the petition made by Councillors Godfrey, Hale and Tim Pollard can be read here:
I am waiting receipt of the speeches by Cllrs Mann, Mead and Newman.