A £25,000 makeover that closed the Croydon sports arena in South Norwood last month has resulted in brand new pole vault and long jump runways, a re-laid track, and a deep clean of the facilities.
Croydon Council, which owns and operates the facilities at the arena, said in a statement that the timing of the “essential” works was “agreed to minimise disruption to users”.
The arena, home to Croydon Harriers Athletics Club and Croydon Football Club, also received other important repairs during the works
Janet Ruthman, a parent who has attended Croydon Sports Arena for the last seven years with her son for school events told Eastlondonlines: “Although the arena was upgraded recently, it still needed work in some areas, so it’s a good thing that has been acknowledged. The nearest thing like this is [four] miles away, so it’s nice to have a localised track.”
David Itri, 46, who has a child in the Croydon Athletics Academy, spoke with Eastlondonlines about the benefit for Croydon as a whole that a locally well-known arena is able to receive constant improvement works. He said: “You can ask every school child in this area from the age of eight if they know what Croydon Sports Arena is and the answer will more than likely be yes. It’s an important arena for Croydon and its young athletes to test their talent and use great facilities at their doorstep.
“[Croydon] Harriers have already given England Olympic level athletes and improving the grassroots can only bode well for the future of the sport. It also helps that a sports focus school like Oasis Academy Arena is right next door.
“We’ve seen Crystal Palace athletics stadium nearly demolished, and that’s one of the most iconic in Europe, let alone south London so its good to see this arena getting love.”
Itri was not completely satisfied, and thought there was even more room for improvement. He said: “With the arena getting better and better, it would be nice if its popularity did the same and grew to the point of needing new stands all around the track to accommodate more people, rather that this one area.
“I think this place has the potential to host big professional athletics meets. Huge expansions such as building more seats will probably never happen until the athletics fixtures and football matches draw enough crowds. However, I feel if you expand the stadium, it will be advertising itself as an arena worthy to host bigger events and attract bigger sponsors, which will immediately boost its public profile beyond just Croydon.”
The South Norwood Sports Arena features a 400-meter eight-lane running track and a flood-lit football field. It has free parking and offers a range of day and season tickets for occasional or regular users.
Between August and May, the Arena is home to Croydon FC, who plays league and youth games. It also houses the Croydon Harriers, who train year-round, with home athletics meets from May to August.
The venue also hosts weekly archery sessions and the Wheel for Wellbeing and Cycling on Referral projects, which enable people with disabilities and special needs to cycle on tricycles.
For more information visit https://www.croydon.gov.uk/leisure/sports/csarena