This post was first published by My London on 03/09/2019.
The 11 projects set to change the face of Croydon over the next few years
From the opening of Fairfield Halls to the redevelopment of East Croydon station – there are a number of exciting projects happening in Croydon
Croydon has an incredibly exciting future.
There are a number of multi-million pound projects which are either in the middle of being built or due to be happen in the next few years.
In the town centre, there are now so many building sites that it’s hard to keep up with what work is going on.
There are also a number of proposed projects which are designed to support the town’s growth over the coming years.
Below are a list of projects and developments which are set to change the face of Croydon for the better.
The hugely popular theatre on Park Lane , in Croydon town centre, has been closed since July 2016 and is undergoing a £30 million makeover.
It was originally due to be open already but delays in the work saw the reopening pushed back to September.
The official opening date of the renovated venue is September 16.
Award-winning actress Dame Judi Dench will be in Croydon next month to kick-off a week-long series of events celebrating the reopening of the venue.
Dame Judi will formally reopen the Ashcroft Playhouse, previously known as the Ashcroft Theatre, on Monday (September 16).
College Green development
Ambitious plans to develop College Green and Fairfield into a vibrant destination for arts, education and culture were given the go-ahead in 2017.
The £30 million redevelopment plan will see more than 400 new homes, various new high-quality public spaces, a brand new college, a 2,000 sq metre art gallery, new shops and office space, all with the refurbished Fairfield Halls at its heart, be built.
The site, which is nicknamed as the Cultural Quarter, covers the area of land inside George Street, Park Lane, Barclay Road, and the Brighton Mainline railway line.
A huge 44-storey block of more than 540 flats is going to be built opposite East Croydon Station, on the site of the vacant former Essex House.
The new double-tower skyscraper, which has structures of 44 and 38 storeys, will contain 546 flats as well as ground-floor shops and offices. Work to build the two massive structures has made good progress in recent months.
Rather than being built on-site like a traditional skyscraper, the towers are being made up of 546 prefabricated concrete cubes which have been shipped to the site and stacked to form the flats around the tower’s core structure.
Two rooftop gardens for residents on the 27th and 43rd floor, as well as an enclosed winter garden on the mezzanine floor, are also included in the development.
The tower is set to be the world’s largest prefabricated building and looks like it could overtake 43-storey Saffron Square as the tallest building in Croydon , though there are plans for an even taller 68-storey tower in Lansdowne Road.
The current tallest prefabricated building in the world is a 32-storey block called 461 Dean, which is in New York.
Essex House, which was built in 1961 and used to house the headquarters of British Rail, was demolished in 1998 and the plot has remained vacant ever since.
The highly anticipated £1.4 billion shopping centre has been plagued by delays long before planning permission was granted in 2017, and it was hoped building work would start in September 2019.
The development is part of a wider £5.25 billion regeneration of Croydon, with the Whitgift Centre to be demolished to make room for Westfield Croydon.
All being well it is set to be completed in 2023, 10 years after it was first given the go ahead.
As well as 173,684sqm of shops and leisure space the plans for Westfield include more than 3,000sqm of office space and 3,140 parking spaces.
The development will also include up to 967 new homes in a build to rent scheme.
Of these 60 per cent are set to be at 80 per cent of market rent while the other 40% would be prices at ‘London living rent’.
The scheme was thrown into question in February after developers announced they had to carry out a “review” into their plans, due to Brexit and the changing retail and economic climate.
Croydon Partnership, the joint venture between Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield and Hammerson, said that current challenges facing the UK’s retail market around Brexit meant the scheme had to be reviewed “to ensure it responds to changing retailer requirements” and is “appropriate for the future.”
But the Whitgift Foundation, which owns the freehold land the centre will be built on, has since revealed work to build the centre could begin in early 2020.
Taberner House had been home to Croydon Council ‘s headquarters, now based in Bernard Weatherill House, for more than four decades before it was pulled down in 2014.
Work on the huge 35-storey building which is being built on the site begun last May and, when finished, the massive structure will tower over Queen’s Gardens alongside other imposing towers.
Together with the tower, there will also be a 21, 19 and 13-storey building constructed as part of the major development. Overall the development should provide 513 homes in the heart of Croydon with around 40 per cent of these deemed affordable.
Some part of the Queen’s Gardens will be off limits during construction which will see separate blocks built opposite Croydon Town Hall. Firm Legal & General have already agree to invest £100 million in the new homes.
Fiveways junction improvements
The latest version of the plans for this notoriously congested and confusing junction involves moving the road bridge over the railway line from Waddon station to the west so that Purley Way can be straightened and widened.
Denning Avenue would also be moved northwards, so that it forms a second set of crossroads with Stafford Road – which would mean shorter waiting times at Fiveways, because there would be one less traffic light sequence.
The A23 (Purley Way) will be widened, so that it has three lanes northbound and southbound in places, while Epsom Road would be made two-way.
There will also be more than 300 metres of new segregated cycle lanes along Epsom Road, the A232 and Purley Way, as well as stopping areas for bikes at every junction.
It is hoped that work will start in late 2021 or early 2022.
Nestlé Building/St George’s Walk
Property developer R&F Properties has £500 million plans to redevelop St George’s Walk into a huge public square outside Croydon Town Hall, which includes constructing new shops and refurbishing the Nestlé building (officially known as St George’s House) into three tower blocks with hundreds of flats.
Planning permission has already been granted for the conversion of St George’s House – more widely known as the Nestlé building – into flats.
The ‘wrap around’ section at the bottom of the building will be demolished while the rest of the landmark structure will be refurbished to look like three individual towers of different heights. Recladding on the front will give the appearance of it becoming three towers.
Original designs for the site on Park Lane included plans to build two new towers, of 25 and 35 storeys, with more than 820 flats among new routes lined with shops linking George Street, High Street and Katharine Street, as well as the public square on a pedestrianised Katharine Street.
While it is not yet known when work on the development will start, the recent submitted planning application to partly demolish the former Blue Orchid nightclub is a clear sign that it could be sooner rather than later.
East Croydon station rebuild
There are major plans to create two extra platforms at East Croydon station and build new homes above and around the station.
There is a desperate need to improve train services through Croydon as it is the most congested part of Britain’s rail network, with 30% more passengers and trains passing through the area each day than London Euston and King’s Cross stations combined.
Network Rail has Government funding to improve the rail network for the 300,0000 passengers who travel between Croydon and central London or towards Brighton every day.
As well as increasing the number of platforms at East Croydon from six to eight, the plan is make the station bigger with a new concourse offering better access to platforms and also out to the town centre
Key to the upgrade, if approved, is the plan to create a series of new railway flyovers to solve the ‘bottleneck’ problems at Windmill Junction, the major interchange at Selhurst. By replacing the existing flat junctions, it means fewer trains would have to wait at red signals.
According to Network Rail, the changes at East Croydon station would mean a “bigger concourse with improved facilities for passengers”.
Carolyn House, close to East Croydon station on Dingwall Road, is undergoing a multi-million pound development which will see 183 apartments being built comprising of 79 one-bed, 103 two-bed and one three-bed apartments.
JJ Rhatigan is employed as the building contractor for the development, which it is estimated will cost £32.5 million and is due to be finished in May 2019.
The ground and first floors of the building have been listed as retail space, while the second to 16th floors are for residential accomodation.
Works also include a new rooftop extension comprising residential accommodation between the 17th and 22 floors. There will be an outdoor area on floor 23.
Next door to Carolyn House, work will soon start on a project involving 181 new homes being built across two towers of 9 storeys and 24 storeys. As part of the development, there will be a flexible commercial space on the ground, first and second floors which could include a new restaurant, café or bar.
The homes will include 88 one-bed apartments, 81 two-bed apartments and 12 three-bed apartments.
The Croydon town centre Job Centre, which was in the building for this new development, was moved to Croydon Council’s base, Bernard Weatherhill House, on Mint Walk , last year.
Redevelopment of Norwood Junction station
Network Rail’s plans to develop Norwood Junction station moved a step closer in June earlier this year.
Network Rail say wider platforms would provide more space for passengers to wait for, board and get off trains, while platforms would also be lengthened to allow full length 12-car trains to stop and open all doors at the station.
The redevelopment would also provide the opportunity to build lifts and two footbridges, providing step-free access to all platforms for the first time, improving accessibility for those with reduced mobility, the elderly and those travelling with a pushchair or luggage.
There are also plans to upgrade the signalling system to give signallers the ability to recover the service more quickly when delays occur.
Brighton Main Line upgrade
Croydon Council has been campaigning for improvements to the line between Brighton and London Victoria so that two more trains an hour can run in each direction.
The first phase of core projects proposed would include addressing the bottleneck at East Croydon station while the station is rebuilt.
These initial improvements would allow an extra two trains to London Bridge and to Victoria per hour and ultimately – depending on the pace of investment – there could be up to 55% more fast trains between Croydon and central London.
Network Rail has said “great progress” has been made with the improvement work, which is due to carry on this year.