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.
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.
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.
- Arts Council chief says Croydon “short-sighted” on Riesco
- Council’s Mr & Mrs act that defies proper declarations
- Tired tribute acts represent poor value for £13m Riesco sale
- Riesco family opposes “unethical” china collection sale
Coming to Croydon
- Green Heritage Fair at Heathfield House: Sep 21-22
- Three plays in a pub: The Ship, Sep 24
- Have a cup of coffee and help fight cancer: Sep 27
- Help break the chains of human trafficking: Sep 28
- Minster’s musical celebration for Silver Sunday: Oct 6
- Rent at the Secombe Theatre: Oct 9-12
- Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough – 262,183 page views (Jan-Jun 2013)
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