Even God’s work can’t tolerate the building development going on in Croydon town centre any longer.
Staff working for the Bishop of Croydon have been forced to move out of their office in St Matthew’s House on George Street because of the noise, dirt and disruption caused by the large-scale tower block development on the neighbouring site.
That’s where private developer Tide Construction is building the world’s tallest prefabs, the tower skyscrapers which when completed will be 44 and 38 storeys tall, with 546 flats, plus some shops and offices.
Croydon’s twin towers soared into the skyline last year, like two fingers to the world. Since the concrete cores were completed around the turn of the year, work on the site at 101 George Street has seen modules for each floor being craned into position.
The towers at 101 George Street, opposite East Croydon Station, will be the tallest structures to be built offsite using modular construction, with the modules for each floor being made in a factory in Bedford and trucked into Croydon to be added to the concrete cores, piece-by-piece, like a giant Jenga set.
It hasn’t been fun and games for those trying to work nearby, however, which is why the Bishop and his staff have decamped from their offices next door. In what the Church of England’s staff assure is “just a temporary arrangement”, the Croydon Episcopal Area Office is now operating from rooms in St Peter’s Road, in the relative calm and peace of South Croydon.
There are other changes ahead, too, with the announcement this week of the impending retirement of the Archdeacon of Croydon, The Venerable Christopher Skilton. As archdeacon, Skilton has been the most senior member of the Church of England clergy working with two bishops of Croydon.
Skilton has been Archdeacon of Croydon since 2013 and prior to that was Archdeacon of Lambeth for nine years. Before that, he had a spell as team rector in Sanderstead.
He is to retire on leap day next year, February 29, just before his 65th birthday. Skilton and his wife, Barbara, have three children and two grandchildren.
“We will greatly miss his wisdom and good humour but we wish Chris and Barbara a long and happy retirement,” said the Bishop of Southwark, The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun.
The Rt Revd Jonathan Clark, the Bishop of Croydon, said, “The Croydon Episcopal Area, and the Diocese as a whole, will be all the poorer as a result of Chris’ retirement. His experience and his thoughtful and prayerful care for those around him make him a gentle, yet firm, pastor to all he encounters. Barbara and Chris will go with our love, thanks and prayers.”