Old Town no more: Croydon’s historical centre gets revamp

Surrey Street Market dates back to Saxon times

Surrey Street Market is thought to date back to Saxon times

Croydon residents have expressed excitement and approval at the proposed revamp of the historical Old Town area as the consultation period for the council’s plans gets underway.

The £1.5m master plan aims to reinforce Old Town’s status as the borough’s historical centre by improving the area’s existing strengths such as its heritage, as well as creating new business and residential opportunities.

A consultation period, in which local residents and businesses are invited to give feedback to the plans, which were released in January, began on February 10 and will continue until March 24.

Nicola Hookway, manager of Age UK charity shop on Croydon’s Church Street, said: “I think that more affordable homes for the local people is never bad, and an improvement to any town or place is always a good thing.”

The scheme contains five main objectives; including providing new homes in Old Town, improving access to streets and green spaces within, as well as improving traffic flow with updated routes in and out of the area.

Liz Sheppard-Jones, district executive of Destination Croydon and Croydon Business Improvement, gave her backing to the plans, citing the improvement to traffic flow as an important factor.

“It’s very exciting to see the historic heart of the town centre being regenerated,” said Jones.

“Old Town is a really lovely area and for various reasons it doesn’t work terribly well at the moment with the traffic problems there and we really hope the improvements to street layout and traffic flow will really help.”

Old Town is home to several historical assets such as the Grade one listed buildings of the Surrey Street Pumping Station and Old Palace School, as well as the Surrey Street Market, which is said to date back to Saxon times.

However, Old Town was badly hit by the London riots in 2011 and it is hoped the plans can help restore the area as the historical centre of Croydon.

Councillor Jason Perry, cabinet member for planning, transport and regeneration, said: “Old Town is the historic heart of Croydon and the council and community are extremely proud of this rich cultural heritage.”

Perry continued: “We want the regeneration of the town centre to breathe new life into Old Town, to improve its connections and ensure it continues to develop as a thriving historic quarter bustling with activity.”

Two consultation drop-in events will be taking place on 12 and 15 March in Matthews Yard, off of Surrey Street.

Further details of the drop-in events, Masterplan and how to give feedback can be found on the council website.

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