This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 14/03/2018.
This is when Fairfield Halls will fully reopen again
The theatre shut in July 2016 for a major £30 million refurbishment.
When Fairfield Halls will fully reopen again has been revealed – and it is going to be months later than initially pledged.
Croydon Council originally said the theatre would be up and running again in July 2018, two years after it closed, before the phased opening was pushed back to November 2018.
A cabinet report released ahead of a council meeting on Monday (March 19), details the progress of the £30 million makeover and sets a new, later date for a full opening.
It reads: “In terms of the timescale for the works overall, the concert hall will be available by the end of this year with a subsequent phased opening of the other venue spaces to follow with full handover [to its new operator, BHLive] by the end of March 2019.
“There will be an increasing range of opportunities for people to see the spaces over this time, building gradually to full scale operation.”
At the end of January Croydon Council said Fairfield Halls will be partially reopened “by the end of this year”, but no date or details of which parts of the venue would open first.
Within the latest report, it says that work on the venue has already made it “look and feel incredibly different”.
The interior is currently split back to the bones with the demolition of the Arnhem Gallery almost complete, it read, and the concert hall seating has been removed for refurbishment.
Asbestos removal, too, has started and is continuing within the Ashcroft Theatre.
Details of its new look have also been revealed as part of the lengthy redevelopment. The report adds: “The foyer area will be much more open with a greatly reduced box office presence to maintain the space and reflect how customers actually interact with a venue.
“Priority is given to creating space for people to mingle and use the venue at all hours of the day. The relocated bar will allow for better circulation and create a further area of customer seating.”
Councillor Tim Pollard, leader of the Conservative opposition on the council, said he is worried the audience for Fairfield Halls will be lost because of delays.
He said: “I thought [the Labour council administration] would have been falling over themselves to get it done in time for the local elections.
“It’s frustrating because it is not only closing a venue, but it is the audience who no longer have somewhere to go.
“The longer it is closed the harder it is to get those people back.”
Croydon Council leader, Tony Newman, has been approached for a comment.