Fairfield Halls: progress being made, but still no opening date

Scaffolding has extended across the front of the building in recent days, and large steel work gone up in what was the Arnhem Gallery – but months after the original re-opening date

The London Open House weekend gave Croydon residents a chance to peek inside the workings of the £30million refurbishment of the Fairfield Halls.

Already months late for completion, and with suggestions that it is also running over-budget, plans for performances and exhibitions at the Concert Hall, Ashcroft Theatre and Arnhem Gallery have been kept under-wraps, despite assurances from council leader Tony Newman two months ago that they were about to be revealed “in the very near future”.

As was exclusively revealed last month by Inside Croydon, a “Grand Re-Opening Gala” in the presence of patron the Earl of Wessex, has been announced for June 12, 2019 – almost a year later  than was originally planned. That may not be the very first event after the builders move out – though it may be that the Concert Hall, which is undergoing very little re-building, is ready before the Halls’ other venues.

The works – which are being overseen by the council-owned house builder, Brick by Brick – were supposed to take just two years from the Halls’ closure at the end of June 2016.

There have been visible signs of progress recently, with scaffolding going up across the front of the building and large steelwork finally appearing in the hole in the side of the structure where the Arnhem Gallery once was.

The Halls’ management expressed a sense of finality when the Fairfield went dark in June 2016

But this progress has only been made in the weeks since the original re-opening date has come and gone.

And visitors to the building site during London Open House weekend were pointedly not told the rescheduled re-opening date might be.

“We were not given a definite opening date, which I personally found disappointing,” said Inside Croydon’s loyal reader, among the visitors on Saturday.

“It was an interesting tour, though lots of imagination was needed to see the final result.

“But they are certainly going in the right direction. If it ends up as described, I will be very pleased.

“Some parts will look like they did when the Fairfield opened in 1962.

“There was lots of scaffolding and girders and holes, but we were told progress will be much quicker from now on. If all that we were told will happen does happen, I will indeed be very pleased. But time will tell.”


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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in Art, Ashcroft Theatre, Brick by Brick, Fairfield Halls, Theatre, Tony Newman and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Fairfield Halls: progress being made, but still no opening date

  1. And I gather that the opening act, a French Contemporary Group “Les Cochons Voleront” will perform on the scheduled opening night. Wonderful but not unexpected news. Should be worth the wait. They will also be performing at the opening ceremony for Westfield in 2030.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. David Hamilton says:

    This thing has been a farce and will continue to be so. All of this money and not ONE extra seat!!
    Surely some of the money should have been spent increasing the capacity of the main theatre. It is not rocket science that doing so would attract bigger acts to Croydon and in turn raise more money.
    I really do think when reopening, most of us will wonder what the hell they have done with all the money!

    Like

  3. Wrong!!!! Not most of us. All of us.

    Liked by 1 person

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