South Norwood High Street to be revamped in £1.1 million scheme

By Tara O’Connor, Local Democracy Reporter

The “beating heart” of South Norwood could be returned to its former glory with an ambitious £1.1m move to revamp the High Street.

Croydon council is drawing up plans to preserve the borough’s historic thoroughfare which dates back to the 19th century.

In recent years the High Street has fallen into disrepair and has previously been rated one of the “unhealthiest” streets in London.

The area will benefit from a £1,101,923 investment as part of Historic England’s government-funded High Street Heritage Action Zone programme.

Historic England said: “Years of economic decline have taken their toll on the look and feel of the High Street and many shops are vacant.

“Narrow, cluttered footpaths, traffic congestion and a busy road junction distract from the High Street’s attractive heritage architecture.”

The council hopes the scheme can protect the future of the area which has a fascinating past.

South Norwood was originally developed as a stopping point on the Croydon Canal, which opened in 1809.

A later railway expansion led to the creation of new housing and by 1870 the High Street was thriving.

Local inventor William Stanley ran a factory nearby, funded educational projects and left his estate to local schools and students.

He designed and built the Grade II listed Stanley Halls, now a popular arts and community centre.

Councillor Oliver Lewis, cabinet member for culture and regeneration, said: “Anyone who visits South Norwood knows it’s a special place – the High Street is the beating heart of the community and much valued by residents.

“The Heritage Action Zone programme is a unique opportunity to make sure it thrives, and to provide important support for our local businesses and wider community.

“The new management plan is an important step in this, and we want it to reflect local people’s priorities and needs, and so I encourage everyone with an interest to take part in the consultation.”

Croydon council is consulting on the changes up until Thursday, February 17.

A public meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 25 at cafe No. 241 Norwood in Selhurst Road from 5pm.

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