Seeing potential for SEGAS building and Riesco “windfall”

As Croydon Council scrambles to hand every spare building or piece of publicly owned land over to John Laing to fulfil the ravenous appetite of the developer’s CCURV scheme, however unsuitable the sites might be for high-profit, high-rise apartments,  Inside Croydon’s loyal reader has sent us this email which offers a different vision for one of the prime buildings in the centre of town, the SEGAS building, which is on English Heritage’s “at risk” list.

The SEGAS building: is it really suitable for conversion to use as a school?

The SEGAS building: is it really suitable for conversion to use as a school?

They write:

I am given to understand that Croydon Council’s long-term costings process, which approved the £27 million provision for the refurbishment of Fairfield Halls, did not include any reference to the £13million which they say could be produced as a “windfall” (my quotes) from the sale of the most valuable of the Riesco ceramics.

I also understand also that the collection was bought by the council in the 1950s so that Mr Riesco could avoid crippling estate duties on his properties and valuables. This situation would appear to have been known to both the Council and the Labour opposition who, themselves, seem to have been curiously muted on this matter.

Given that any income from the sale of the Riesco assets could be invested anywhere in Croydon, a far better fate for it would be to create a “Riesco Museum of Croydon” in the currently redundant SEGAS House.

Although Councillor Tim Pollard has nominated that building, amongst others, for a small school, a much better end result would be the re-opening of the iconic 1940s Art Deco-style building to contain not only the rump of the Riesco collection but also the rest of the borough’s artifacts still languishing in storage in the Clocktower and elsewhere, together with the local studies library and all of its archive.

An example of some of the Art Deco design on the exterior of the SEGAS building

An example of some of the Art Deco design on the exterior of the SEGAS building

Far more of an educational value would be made from such a decision than if it disappeared into the budget for Fairfield Hall’s refurbishment, because a much broader spread of local educational subjects would be congregated together than just theatre.

The building faces on to Fairfield, an area scheduled to be renovated to include a smooth pedestrian transition from East Croydon station to the cultural and leisure centre of the town. This would be a too-good opportunity to create a visitor focus to be missed.

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1 Response to Seeing potential for SEGAS building and Riesco “windfall”

  1. Oh no, please; not a useful purpose for the Segas building. The longer it remains derelict, the more likely some kind soul will put us out of our municipal misery and knock it down.

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