Work is set to begin next year on a Croydon Council plan to revitalise South Norwood’s High Street after it successfully bid for major funding from Historic England.
As part of its £1.7m bid, the council plans to restore dilapidated Victorian buildings, improve public open spaces, back community education projects and encourage specialist heritage-related apprenticeships.
The proposals include creating an arts and heritage trail through South Norwood and setting up a planning workshop to encourage better-quality development in the area.
Pop-up exhibitions run by the Museum of Croydon are also part of the plans to teach locals about South Norwood’s heritage past and present. In addition, the project aims encourage young people to explore apprenticeships in the construction and conservation industries and work with community groups to create more public art in South Norwood.
The council will now work on a detailed plan with Historic England to finalise the project, and the exact amount of funding – part of a £95m pot for 69 high streets across the country – will be confirmed in January.
The funding will build on the work of the Good Growth Fund, which is providing £2.3m of investment with £1.16m from the Greater London Authority being match funded by the council. The initiative, announced last December, involves working with community group We Love SE25 and local residents, businesses and landlords to bring empty premises back into use as retail and workspaces for creative and social enterprises.
South Norwood boomed in the 19th century with the arrival of the railway, and its centre is predominantly composed of original buildings, dating from the 1840s to 1910, many of which retain their original features. The project’s heritage action zone focuses on upgrading South Norwood’s conservation area which is on Historic England’s At Risk Register.
“This announcement is really exciting for South Norwood and Croydon. The council is committed to supporting our important and historic local centres.
“South Norwood’s High Street retains most of its Victorian and Edwardian buildings, with an abundance of character and fine architecture. However it has suffered economically over recent years and really needs a boost to return it to its former glory.
“We look forward to working with Historic England to finalise plans for the Heritage Action Zone so the area can celebrate its past as it grows and thrives for future generations. In addition to the economic development plans already being developed using funding from the Mayor for London and the council, South Norwood will continue to be regenerated for the benefit of the whole community.”
Councillor Paul Scott, cabinet member for environment, transport and regeneration
Emily Gee, Historic England’s Regional Director for London and the South East, said: “This is fantastic news for the residents and businesses of South Norwood. Historic England is looking forward to working with the local community and stakeholders on this exciting project to help revitalise the historic high street, in turn supporting regeneration of the area.”