This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 09/05/2018.
These are a teenager’s plans to turn a disused Croydon station into a place for young people to hang out
The 18-year-old is already in discussions to open a café and chill out area in the station building.
A disused train station building could be turned into a place for young people to come together to have fun if a Croydon teenager’s plans get the go-head.
James Taylor, who is 18 and lives on Gravel Hill, in Addington, wants to refurbish and transform Woodside station building in Spring Lane into a place which can be used by people aged from 14 to 25, to hang out, take part in workshops and events as well as going there to get something to eat and drink.
He wants it to include a chill out zone, a non-profit-making café which will help the centre become self-sufficient, an event and exhibition space, a museum to showcase the history of the local area, sensory room for autistic children and a communal kitchen.
Already James has had interest from people wanting to run classes at the centre.
The teenager, who is a business studies student and also runs a gardening service called The Berry, has discussed his ideas with Transport for London (TfL) and Croydon Council.
He said: “I have met with the council and TfL about taking something forward. TfL seem receptive about allowing the building to be used for the project.”
The building was shut in 1997 when it was announced the rail line from Elmers End to Woodside was to be incorporated in the tram network.
TfL bought the station building in 2007 and restored parts so it is fitted out with carpets and toilets.
However, said James described the building as a “decaying eyesore for a number of years now”.
He added: “I have been driving past there for ages – something has to be done with it.”
James hopes to get National Lottery funding to get his plans off the ground and will be running the community hub himself.
“I will be properly working hard to deliver,” he said.
He is now waiting for TFL to give the green light to his project.
James pointed to the level of youth violence in Croydon as part of the reason why the borough would benefit from having such a centre for young people to go to.
“I think it’s very important because for 14 to 17-year-olds, there’s not a place where they can go and socialise,” he said. “What we want to have is an accessible place for them to chill out.”
A Transport for London (TfL) spokesperson said: “We’re always happy to investigate opportunities for local businesses or organisations to use our buildings which are unrequired for operational reasons.
“All money raised from lettings is reinvested into the transport network to help fund improvements and keep London moving.”
If you want to get involved you can email James at firstname.lastname@example.org .
You can keep up to date with James’ plans by following him on Twitter at @theberrycdn.