Jo and I attended the launch of the first Croydon Place Review Panel; set up by the Council to ensure Croydon’s popularity as a development location shaped by the overarching vision to deliver quality design and placemaking. The panel will provide independent, expert advice on projects relating to all aspects of Croydon’s built environment, as part of the significant regeneration and growth of the borough. The panel is multidisciplinary, following the recommendations set out in the Farrell Review.
We received an excellent welcome pack which included, amongst other things, saffron made in Croydon (Old English ‘croh’=saffron and ‘denu’ =valley) as well as a locally brewed beer. Compelling and thoughtful presentations about the borough's development aspirations kicked off some lively discussion regarding the role of the panel and how we could offer much more, both at the pre- and post-planning stages. We learnt about the 16 distinctive character areas within the borough and the various development initiatives identified within these zones.
In the afternoon, we had a tour of the borough on the top deck of a restored routemaster bus; seeing the impact of permitted development within the town centre which has suddenly led to a dearth of office accommodation, alongside Croydon’s famous brutalist towers. Finally, we met with the various ward councillors, before finishing with an evening press launch at Yumn Brasserie in the newly opened Boxpark, where speeches were made, canapes consumed and cocktails quaffed.