LONDON ROAD FACELIFT WILL TRANSFORM WEST CROYDON
Work begins this month on a multi-million pound project to change the face of London Road in West Croydon.
More than £3.2m is being invested by the council to improve the street. This will involve tidying up shop fronts and building facades, widening and repaving footpaths, planting trees, and providing new seating and cycle parking.
The project will make the road more pedestrian-friendly and increase trade for local shops and businesses.
Work on shopfronts will start in August in Broad Green and move south towards West Croydon, whilst work on the road and pavements will start at West Croydon and move north.
Almost £600,000 of the budget will be spent supporting 40 local businesses to improve their shops and building frontages. This will include cleaning and repainting, new shop fronts, signs, awnings and security shutters, and the restoration of historic features.
Five of the new shopfronts have been created by graphic design students at Croydon College. They spent five months working with the retailers and developing proposals, supported by their tutor Vicki Parrott and Geraldine Holland from Jan Kattein Architects.
Once the first phase of improvements is complete if there are any remaining funds these will be offered to other businesses nearby. Everything is due to be finished by the summer of 2015.
In total, over £50million is being invested in Croydon through the ‘Connected Croydon’ programme.
Cllr Toni Letts, cabinet member for economic development, said: “We’re really seeing significant changes to the face of Croydon.
“Our high streets are hugely important to the prosperity of the borough and they say a huge amount about us.
“If we create inviting public spaces where people feel safe to shop and spend their leisure time we will change Croydon’s image and bring in even more much-needed investment.
“It’s our pledge to be ambitious for Croydon, and by driving forward this scheme we are showing we mean business.”
Connected Croydon is a jointly-funded project, managed by Croydon council, with support from Transport for London and an £18m contribution from the Mayor of London.
A Croydon council spokesperson said: “As with the work currently being done in south Croydon around the restaurant quarter there will be some disruption and occasional traffic controls in place, but the council and its contractors will be aiming to keep these to a minimum.”
Full details can be found at www.croydon.gov.uk/londonroad.
PECKHAM TOWN CENTRE GETS £1.6 m HERITAGE LOTTERY FUNDING
Southwark council has received a confirmed grant of £1.675m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to help restore Peckham town centre.
The money will be made available under the Heritage Lottery Fund Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) – a grants programme set up to provide much needed investment for communities to improve and regenerate the historic built environment for the benefit of local residents, workers and visitors.
The five year Peckham Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) scheme will see 44 of the most important historic buildings on Peckham High Street and Rye Lane shortlisted for a grant to repair damaged facades, reinstate lost historic features and install high quality traditional windows and shop fronts.
Owners will also be encouraged to bring vacant floor space in the upper floors back into use to support the local economy and provide much needed housing, said a Southwark council statement.
“The grant will also enable the council and its partners in the community to put in place a programme of complementary initiatives centred on the better knowledge and enjoyment of this important historic town centre” said a Southwark spokesperson.
“It aims to bring wider benefits to the community of Peckham with a unique set of complementary initiatives including traditional building skills, improved knowledge of the history of the area and a celebration of its heritage.
“The project will enable voluntary groups like Peckham Vision and the Peckham Society to help the council deliver among other things an education programme for local schools; a traditional building skills and apprenticeships initiative for young people; information and guidance about the historic town centre; and a ‘Celebrate Peckham’ programme.”
Sue Bowers, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for London said: “Investing lottery money to revitalise historic buildings at the heart of a community not only makes a place more attractive to live, visit and invest in, it also provides jobs and training opportunities for local people.
“We are delighted to make this award to Peckham as part of our on-going commitment to preserving London’s heritage.”
Cllr Mark Williams, cabinet member for transport, planning and regeneration, said: “I’m delighted that the council has been successful in securing a £1.675m grant for Peckham’s historic townscape.
“This demonstrates the council’s commitment to conservation-led regeneration for Peckham and complements the investment at Peckham Rye Station.
“Peckham town centre was rightly designated as a conservation area and this grant will help us preserve and enhance its historic character.” (Source: Southwark council press release)
CROYDON COULD BECOME HOME TO A MINI WHITEHALL
Ambitious proposals to create a new civil service hub in Croydon could become a reality after the government announced it is to consider relocating major offices to the town centre.
This comes as Croydon council has been chosen as one of 20 local authorities to become part of the government’s One Public Estate programme, a property sharing scheme between central and local government.
The council will receive funding and training from the Government Property Unit and Local Government Association to look at the feasibility of relocating the existing civil service presence in Croydon into modern offices as part of the regeneration of the town centre over the next five years.
Civil service estate in Croydon currently includes the Home Office contingent at Apollo House and Lunar House, and Land Registry on Bedford Park.
The ambitious “mini-Whitehall” plans would bring up to 10 local/central government services into one.
Sites under consideration for the hub include Ruskin Square, which has been derelict for 30 years, and West Croydon Interchange.
A Croydon council spokesperson said: “The government’s interest in the council’s proposals reflect the growing confidence in Croydon as a major office destination, after agents reported a 96 per cent increase in commercial occupation across the town centre last year.
“The hub has the potential to create significant economic growth and generate income from moving the existing civil service estate into fit for purpose, modern and efficient buildings.
“With the Westfield/Hammerson Partnership’s plans to redevelop the Whitgift Centre already in the pipeline, a new civil service hub would provide another huge boost to the regeneration of the town centre.
“It will create economic growth and generate income from the sale of the existing civil service estate. “The plans will bring job opportunities for Croydon residents as well as providing significant benefits to the SME business economy.”
Cllr Toni Letts, cabinet member for economic development, said: “We are on the brink of seeing massive regeneration in Croydon.
“We have future growth plans of Olympic-sized proportions which will see the creation of 16,500 more jobs, the building of 9,500 new homes, and the redevelopment of our retail centre by Westfield and Hammerson.
“These are really exciting times and these ambitious proposals for a civil service hub will only enhance Croydon’s reputation as a great place to work, live and visit.” (Source: Croydon council press release)
HUNDREDS OF AFFORDABLE HOMES TO BE BUILT IN CROYDON
Building work has begun on more than 800 affordable homes in Croydon – one of the highest rates in London.
They will be completed and ready to house more than 2,000 people in the next 18 months.
The homes are located across the borough and include those developed under the council’s New Build programme.
Work has also started on bringing more than 50 empty homes back into use for affordable housing.
The 821 affordable home building programme, funded by the Greater London Authority, is the second biggest in London for 2013/14.
It has also been confirmed that Croydon is to receive part of the Mayor of London’s £404 million allocation of funding to build affordable homes. A large part of this will support new housing association homes in the borough.
The Mayor’s housing covenant will see a total of 100 homes from 12 schemes in the borough built between 2016 and 2019.
The bigger developments will be in Shirley (35 homes), Thornton Heath (20 homes) and Coulsdon (12 homes).
Cllr Alison Butler, cabinet member for homes and regeneration, said: “We recognise that there is a housing crisis in London and that residents are finding it increasingly difficult to buy or rent.
“This new administration has pledged to deliver more affordable housing in Croydon, which is a major part of the regeneration we are set to see in the coming years.
“This latest programme of building will help to meet the huge demand for housing.”
Breakdown of affordable homes by ward
Addiscombe – 95
Broad Green – 158
Coulsdon East – 9
Coulsdon West – 56
Fairfield – 79
Kenley – 33
Norbury – 1
Purley – 30
Selhurst – 52
South Norwood – 15
Thornton Heath – 74
Upper Norwood – 114
Waddon – 51
West Thornton – 51
Woodside – 3 (Source: Croydon council press release)