5,000 signatures reached
To: Croydon Council
Save Our Fairfield Halls
Whilst whole heartedly supporting the much needed redevelopment of the Fairfield Halls, Save Our Fairfield is petitioning Croydon Council to overturn their decision to close the venue for a minimum two year period (although this is as yet unquantifiable given the nature of the Council’s plans) and approve a phased redevelopment programme that has the foundation of a strong operational plan for the venue’s future at its heart.
This would allow continuity of quality arts programming in the Borough whilst removing huge elements of risk and uncertainty in the Council proposal.
Why is this important?
The Fairfield Halls is the biggest arts and entertainment complex in South London, staging over 500 events and shows per year as well as being a home to many local community groups and projects.
With a rich history, a strong classical music programme, world-class comedy events, fantastic family shows and a rapidly developing contemporary music offering, this is a Croydon asset that needs and deserves nurturing and protection through the proposed redevelopment.
The current Croydon Council proposal places huge risk on the Fairfield Halls NOT re-opening and carries significant financial cost to re-open and win back audiences, top quality shows and events.
• Croydon will lose it’s ONLY viable music and arts venue for an unspecified period – not only is that a loss of live events coming to the Borough, but a lost opportunity for school children to engage and perform at the venue and will impact a large number of other community projects that utilise the venue.
• The Council is entering into a risk/reward property development model to fund the project. If the risks materialise works may never be completed (leaving a “closed” sign permanently on the door of this great venue) and/or Council Tax and Business Rates payers will be left to foot the bill to the tune of £18m. However, the Council refuses to make these plans publically available.
• The Council proposes shutting the Fairfield Halls when there is currently no detailed plan of the newly refurbished venue on the table, neither is there an operating model for it’s re-opening.
• The timetable for delivering the Westfield shopping centre in Croydon has slipped now to 2020, despite Council claims that “this is the season for delivery”. We believe similar delays are likely with the Council’s proposal for Fairfield Halls’ redevelopment, resulting in closure period far in excess of the two years currently stipulated, increasing the risk of the venue never reopening.
• There is no budget in place to re-launch the Fairfield after completion of the works.
The Council wants the “new Fairfield Halls to rival the Southbank Centre”. An ambition we applaud (and assume this is a rivalry chosen as holding the Southbank Centre as a leading example of venue management), however to do so we firmly believe that:
- Development should be phased (a bit like they are doing at the Southbank!).
Operational ownership should remain independent to deliver the best for Croydon (a bit like at the Southbank).
- The operational body should sit at the centre of the development project from inception to completion (kind of how the Southbank are managing things).
- That an independent Fairfield Halls can thrive and deliver more to the community and local economy with proper planning and nurturing now rather than accept the Council rationale of “give it a polish and sell it to the highest bidder to operate”.
There are far too many gaps in information, incomplete plans, omitted costs and lack of consultation for the Council proposal to hold any credence beyond being a concept paper. However, even with these risks, oversights and omissions they have approved this plan.
Rather than meekly accept this flawed piece of Council planning and put at risk the future of this fantastic venue, we ask you to sign this petition to show your support for a more reasoned, phased redevelopment of the Fairfield Halls that WILL:
• Ensure the longevity of the venue
• Provide Croydon with a much needed cultural identity over the next two years
• Continue to stage great events – from established favourites to the new and brave!
•Build on the work already undertaken to improve “Brand Croydon” by attracting headline music acts to the Borough
•Maintain audience engagement and a home for community initiatives
•Ensure that on completion of the redevelopment, the Fairfield will be a vibrant and ALREADY OPERATIONAL world-class venue.
Please show your support for the Fairfield Halls and it's current operating body Fairfield (Croydon) Limited, your desire for a more structure to the Council plan and love for the current and future prospects of the arts in Croydon by signing this petition.
How it will be delivered
The petition will be delivered at the Croydon Council Meeting on Monday18th April 2016. 6.30pm
We need as many people as possible to support us in the public gallery.Town Hall, Katharine Street, CR9 1ET. Please arrive early and make some noise for Fairfield Halls.