£18.5 million grant to boost Croydon town centre renewal

Croydon Town Centre Pic: Martin Stitchener

A grant of £18.5 million has been given to Croydon to help renew the town centre through key infrastructure projects. 

According to Croydon Council, the money from the Government’s Levelling Up fund will be used in its Reconnected Croydon scheme to improve the “streetscape” and “fractured townscape” so that residents can engage in leisure and retail activities while travelling through safer, greener spaces. 

The focus of Reconnected Croydon will be on the South End restaurant quarter, East Croydon station, West Croydon station, Old Town, and Croydon Minster.

Reconnected Croydon plans to establish a new civic square at the Fairfield Cultural Complex, which will connect Queen’s Gardens and Surrey Street Market.

The initial bid for the levelling up fund took place on July 6, 2022, and Mayor Jason Perry recognized its success, praising local government partnerships on X this Monday.

Perry also said: “I’m delighted we have been successful in the Levelling Up Fund, round three. Our impressive bid submitted at round two has been assessed as high quality and ready to deliver. This will be a huge boost for Croydon Town Centre and will form part of my determination to restoring pride in our community, reconnect and regenerate Croydon.”

Sarah Jones, Labour MP for Croydon Central has been less optimistic in her online response to the new funding. 

She said on X: “I’m pleased to see that the government has awarded Croydon £18 million in long overdue #LevellingUp funding. I was happy to support the bid we put in 2022. I hope this money can be put to good use quickly and efficiently to make some improvements to our town centre. 

“Despite this win, councils have been starved of resources over the last decade. We need longer-term funding settlements for local governments, instead of pitting one area of our country against another through these expensive rounds of bids. I am concerned that costs will have risen considerably since the bid was put in given rapidly rising inflation and would like guarantees from the government that the plans will still be deliverable.”

In a letter written by Jacob Young, Minister for Levelling up, the funding was described as “provisional” and subject to ensuring that the project will be delivered by March 2026.

The original estimate for Reconnecting Croydon Scheme was £19.9 million in 2022, making it uncertain how the council will navigate inflation and the deficit between the amount awarded and their original bid.

The Government’s Levelling Up Fund awarded the sum to Croydon Council as part of a third round of funding. The third round has seen a total of £1 billion made available for use across 55 projects throughout the country.

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