Croydon South End
Transforming the streetscape of a key gateway into central Croydon
The £2.8m South End scheme transformed the heart of the Borough’s restaurant district to create a coherent, high quality and welcoming place. Complementary 'hard' physical proposals and 'soft' support initiatives combined to support a lively and successful future for the high street.
We Made That collaborated with landscape practice Hassell to deliver an important public realm project in South Croydon. Supported by engineers, Buro Happold, and graphic designers, Objectif, the team has delivered enhanced public realm and building frontages proposals as part of a coordinated set of projects to enhance Croydon’s high streets.
Our approach addressed both physical improvements to streetscape and building frontages, and also went further by purposefully activating and promoting the street to contribute to perceptual change in those who live in and visit the area. The team thought about how different activities shape our high streets and how to make South End High Street and Selsdon Road places where social and civic functions attract commerce and activity.
The interventions led to an 80% reduction in vacancy in high street units in the area and numerous restaurants seeking street trading licenses for outdoor dining.
Prior to the project commencement, retail unit vacancy in South End was 16%, and the area was suffering in the aftermath of the 2011 London riots. At project completion, vacancy has reduced to just 5% - significantly below the national average.
Improvements over an area of 14,000m2 included a range of finely balanced proposals from extended footways and junction re-alignments to focused new public spaces, shopfront upgrades and economic support. A number of distinctive interventions amplified the area’s character and highlighted existing heritage assets. The elements of the delivered scheme combine to make the area more accessible, greener and more prosperous.
'Soft' proposals included establishing the 'South End Ideas Shop' for one month in a vacant retail unit fitted out with construction students from Croydon College, and inviting local young people to screen-printing workshops to produce bespoke hoarding artworks for the frontage improvements.
At a tactical scale, the team also produced the Croydon Meanwhile Use Toolkit, one of a number of projects designed to encourage and enable activation of Croydon’s underutilized spaces with enterprising new uses.
The project was delivered as part of the Connected Croydon programme; a series of coordinated public works to improve Croydon’s streets, squares and open spaces, part-funded through the Mayor of London’s Regeneration Fund.
- London Borough of Croydon
MacEwen Prize for 'the common good' 2016 (Shortlisted)
New London Awards 2015: Public Spaces (Shortlisted)
Hassell, We Made That, Objectif, Buro Happold