London Borough of Croydon

Background/ Intro

An important district centre to the north of central Croydon, Thornton Heath has a distinct a specific identity. Its busy high street acts as a hub for the local community and plays an important role in the local economic life. The area holds opportunities for development and better use of existing buildings.

The Thornton Heath Improvements project is to improve the physical environment of the town centre high street and Brigstock Road, resulting in safer, functional and attractive places that will encourage local people to take ownership of their high street, whilst also creating appealing streets for new visitors.

The programme of works will take place over three years; upgrading the public realm, town centre and creating the ideal conditions for business investment. Enhancements are planned to around 30 buildings along Thornton Heath High Street and Brigstock Road and empty or run down properties will be brought back into use.

Greater London Authority (GLA) New Homes Bonus funding of £260,150 for business support which alongside the public realm improvements improving the look and feel of Thornton Heath high street supports the resilience of local businesses and the user experience.  £146,800 is being contracted out to Croydon Voluntary Action (CVA) in order to deliver a comprehensive package of support for businesses.  The remainder £113,350 will be directly delivered. 

Public Realm enhancements

The public realm connects the public spaces used by residents, businesses and visitors to Thornton Heath. Plans to upgrade the public realm include new paving, wider footways, better aligned pedestrian crossings, more street trees and planting, and the removal of redundant street furniture and promoting walking.. A deep clean of the High Street and Clock tower has also taken place.

The main public realm improvements for Thornton Heath are focused on three key areas: 

  1. Outside of the Library; 
  2. Around the train Station and TESCO
  3. Whitehorse Lane Roundabout,

Improvements will aim to reduce anti-social behaviour and improve the environment, to create high quality public spaces with a distinct focus on Thornton Heath.

Wayfinding

A Legible London wayfinding scheme will be placed in the area. Signs will guide the public and visitors to key and sometimes undiscovered areas of Thornton Heath. It will be linked to the existing Legible London signage in other parts of Croydon.

Legible London is a wayfinding scheme of signs and maps, developed by Transport for London. The Mayor is supportive of the scheme and sees its implementation throughout London as being an important element to the introduction of clear and consistent on-street information to encourage walking. Legible London is fully integrated with elements such as, different types of transport and significant destination points of the area, allowing visitors to quickly and easily identify their preferred route.

Economic Growth

A key priority for the council is to ensure that economic growth in the borough provides expansion opportunities to existing local businesses.

Building facade and shopfront improvements

Enhancements are planned to around 30 buildings on Brigstock Road and the High Street, focusing on parades of architectural value. These will align with the public realm improvements being delivered at the same time.

Properties have been chosen based on the following criteria:

• Strategic location: we’ve focused on key destinations and prominent locations

• Architectural quality and uniqueness of the property

• Use of the building

• Existing condition and opportunity for enhancement

• Potential to maximise impact: aiming to locate improvements in ‘clusters’

You&Me Architecture have been appointed to deliver this part of the improvements; they have experience in public realm and high street regeneration projects. Following initial fact finding, to get to know Thornton Heath town centre and understanding it through the eyes of local people, a series of designs for improved shopfronts were developed. Locally-based artists were commissioned to develop murals and public artworks on some flank walls.

Improving the 30 buildings and introducing new public artworks could be seen as fundamentally changing the ‘face’ of the town centre, making it feel more welcoming and business focused, while expressing Thornton Heath’s vibrancy and diversity.

Business Investment

Almost £150,000 of Croydon’s New Homes Bonus grant from central government has been earmarked to ensure Thornton Heath's businesses have the skills and expertise they need to expand and succeed.

The council has selected Croydon Voluntary Action (CVA) to run the recently launched business support programme, ‘Business and Enterprise Support Thornton Heath’ (BESTH), which is a key element of Croydon’s drive to boost business on the high streets of its many district centres. This complements the investment currently going into the town centre, where some £5bn is expected to be invested over the next few years, on new offices and homes.

Firms who sign up to BESTH will receive one-to-one support or training in a range of areas including company registration, in-store merchandising, food safety, marketing, website development, tax returns, business planning, accessing finance, and recruitment practice – including how to take on work placements or apprenticeships.

The New Homes Bonus grant, will also support local people into local jobs. Croydon Voluntary Action (CVA) will work closely with Croydon Works job brokerage, Job Centre Plus, and Croydon College.

CVA successfully undertook a similar business support and job-creation project in London Road West Croydon where 60 new businesses were started and over 80 new jobs were created over two years.

Croydon has ambitious plans for regeneration, growth and district centres and high streets such as Thornton Heath have a critically important role to play in this. The project improvements are designed to make the High Street and neighbouring roads a more welcoming and inviting place to visit and shop.

If you have any questions about the regeneration programme, please email the project manager Clive Kershaw: clive.kershaw@croydon.gov.uk.

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