News Update – March 2021

The Good Growth Fund and High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HAZ)

In December, GLA and Historic England agreed to a proposal to continue the South Norwood regeneration programmes. This was approved internally by Croydon Council at the end of January and the new legal agreements for both programmes were completed last week.

We have retained the original funding awarded to South Norwood by each organisation and will be matching this with a reduced match-funding pot from Croydon Council.

– Good Growth Fund £1,161,427
– High Streets HAZ £1,101,923
– Croydon Council £357,264

As part of the revised agreements, the focus area for the physical improvements of the programme, i.e., improvements to buildings and the public realm, has been redefined to align with the smaller HAZ boundary area. (a revised map will be available here shortly).

The Business support and Community capacity building workstreams will continue as planned across the original focus area, including Portland Road. There are no changes to the plans for business support or the community capacity building parts of the programme. These will continue to be available across the original focus area.

The Community Hubs programme will now focus on three of the original five hubs in the Good Growth Programme: Socco Cheta, Stanley Arts and Croydon Youth Theatre Organisation (CYTO). These are the hub projects which can be delivered within the programme deadline. The council is finalising details with the contractor for the Socco Cheta project and will begin works on site in late spring. As the Socco Cheta works get underway, we will be sharing the outcome of a study which looks at how the hubs will work together and develop to support We Love SE25ís vision for a community hub network across South Norwood.

We are looking forward to participating in workshops with South Norwood Business Network, the Clocktower Market, South Norwood Net, All Heads Recognized and CYTO as the first stage in our capacity building programme. We will be looking at how our network will need to grow to deliver our vision for a connected, sustainable community infrastructure.

Two dedicated staff for the South Norwood Regeneration Programme will be joining the team soon to support the delivery of the programme. Rhubi Worth, our new High Streets HAZ officer, will be joining us on 29th March, 2021 and we are currently recruiting for a Business Engagement Officer (closing date 29th March with details on the Councilís website), who will support the Workspaces and Shops programme and develop support for local high street businesses with South Norwood Business Network, one of We Love SE25ís town team members.

The Regeneration Team will continue to look for additional funding opportunities to supplement the budget and will be supporting our community partners to identify and secure match-funding for their individual projects.

Review of WLSE25 Working Groups and Projects

Over the past year, with much of the programme activity paused, most of our Working Groups have not been active. As the programme restarts, we will be looking once again at the focus of the Groups. These were originally created to mirror the Good Growth programme workstreams: Workspaces & Shops; Community Hubs; Placemaking; Business Support and Community Capacity.

The High Streets HAZ programme brings a stronger focus on heritage and extensive community engagement and cultural programmes which will interact with projects across the original workstreams. The refreshed Working Groups will become more project focussed and flexible, so that we can harness the experience and expertise of our members in the best way for each project.

A consortium of local creative organisations came together in the autumn to develop a bid for the High Street HAZ cultural programme. The outcome of the bid which will be announced later this year and while we wait for this, a new interactive High Street Heritage Walk is being created which will be live streamed by Stanley Arts to kick-start South Norwoodís cultural activities. This event will coincide with the Clocktower Market in May 2021, subject to the continued schedule for lockdown easing.

Residents have voiced concerns about the state of the Norwood Junction pedestrian underpass. This has mobilised a team of volunteer residents who have expressed an interest in working with We Love SE25 in creating community art on the walls of the underpass. We Love SE25 has been liaising with the Highways Department for permission and statutory documents necessary to progress the project. An International Artist, who has created stunning murals in South Norwood has agreed to work with this group to create art that reflects iconic parts of the neighbourhood.

It is hoped that maintenance of the Norwood Junction underpass will be carried out in early summer by the Highways department, subject to availability of budgets, after which we will begin the artwork on the walls. A call out for volunteers will be circulated once maintenance work has been completed and signed off by the Council.