Delayed Fairfield Halls now won’t fully open until March 2019

A cabinet report ahead of Monday night’s meeting has revealed that the Fairfield Halls now won’t be ready to open fully until the end of March 2019 – a full nine months later than promised.

Those were the days: the Fairfield Halls when it first opened. Refurbishment works have over-run by nine months

The Halls closed for a much-needed £30million refurbishment in June 2016, with the promise that the works would be done more speedily and economically if the whole of the venue “went dark”.

Then, the project was supposed to take just two years.

The refurbishment project is being managed by Brick by Brick, the council’s wholly owned housing developer, which was formed in 2015 and has yet to build a single new home.

It seems unlikely that any events or performances will be possible at the Ashcroft Theatre or in the Fairfield Halls’ reconfigured exhibition space, until April 2019, since the cabinet report talks of full handover to operators, BHLive, at the end of March 2019. BHLive will get access to the Concert Hall by the end of 2018, though it will then have to oversee the fitting out process.

This won’t be finished quickly

At present, the slow-progress works see a huge gaping hole in the side of the Halls where the Arnhem Gallery used to be.

The cabinet report states that asbestos removal is still on-going in the Ashcroft Theatre – a difficult and time-consuming process which those close to the project had assured the public was undertaken in 2016, before the major building works began.

The council cabinet report states: “In terms of the timescale for the works overall, the Concert Hall will be available by the end of this year with a subsequent phased opening of the other venue spaces to follow with full handover (to its new operator, BHLive) by the end of March 2019.

“The interior of Fairfield Halls is currently stripped back to the bones with the demolition of the Arnhem Gallery now almost complete. The Concert Hall seating has been removed for refurbishment and birdcage scaffolding has been erected within the Hall. Asbestos removal continues within the Ashcroft Theatre in preparation for further works.”

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5 Responses to Delayed Fairfield Halls now won’t fully open until March 2019

  1. That’s what you get when you have a contract to a company (Brick by Brick) that has absolutely zero experience of any construction work and is staffed by a bunch of pen pushers and expensive consultants (who are certainly very experienced at extracting vast sums of public cash from the council). We can only guess how rapid their house building will be, but based on current evidence, I would put money on them not delivering within the timescales they are claiming

    Still, I doubt they will worry about that too much as they are currently sunning themselves in the south of France at our expense.

  2. Dave Scott says:

    What a surprise!
    I am sure in their pink sky world they are important

  3. Charles Calvin says:

    A Croydon Conservative Councillor has told me the Fairfield Halls will not open until third quarter 2019 and could possibly not be opened until 2020! The contract for Asbestos removal was not broad enough and it has now resulted in delays across the entire project. The £30 million budget is due to run out at the end of this year.

    Looking forward to seeing how ‘Thick-Brick’ will explain away this one. However, they may even have seen their first house built before Fairfield Halls are complete!

    My Conservative Councillor friend suggested it’s all a bit of a learning curve for the newly formed company. That’s fine – i’m all for learning on the job, but please can they do so on something that’ll have a less impact on the public purse and the amenity of the residents of Croydon.

  4. Lewis White says:

    Check out the Fairfield Halls refurbishment website.

    A bare minimum of information about what is actually going to result from the refurbishment. No architect plans labelled up to show the configuration of the performance spaces, restaurants, new entrances, etc etc. No written descriptions about each part of the building. Almost zilch.

    Just a few updates, two in May 2017, and 1 in September 2017, and the original artist impressions. By now, we should be having specific detail as to what is being built.

    So much for the website`s breathless statement that …….
    “This site will provide all the information, news and updates on the modernisation of this historic venue, plus a guide to what’s on in Croydon while the Fairfield Halls is closed for refurbishment.”

    Doh !!

    Zero enthusiasm………….. no feeling of vision or words of inspiration.
    Is this indicative of how the final project will be ? I hope not.

    Someone takes the website by the horns, and remedy the deafening silence.

    Time to engage the Croydon public . After all, this is for them Us. The 12 month lead-up to the opening is crucial. It must be a success.

    • Charles Calvin says:

      This is an important point …why the silence on such an important amenity? Lack of vision? Uncertainty about what they’re doing? or wriggle room ?

      My view is there is a fundamental lack of vision in the Council. Vision / aspiration is not being communicated down by the leaders. It’s about the lack of calibre amongst council leaders and this starts with the CEO, who lacks the credentials and character to do this really important job.

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