In a blow to the hopes of the thousands of residents who have petitioned the Labour council to think again about its plan to close Fairfield Halls whilst it is refurbished, Croydon Labour has rejcted their pleas and, as a result, Fairfield Halls will close in mid-July for at least two years.
Over 11,000 residents signed the two petitions calling upon the council to carry out a phased redevelopment instead of completely closing it and that petition was debated at a fractious council meeting on Monday night.
To add insult to injury the council once again failed to cope with the influx of residents wanting to hear the debate generated by the pulic petition, with the audio-visual feed to the overflow room failing shortly before the introductory speech by lead petitioner Andy Hylton. As a result nobody could hear Mr Hylton's impassioned plea for the council to think again, unless theywere in the council chamber itself. Depite the Conservative group group picking up the problem through monitoring Twitter, and calling for the speakers to be allowed to try again once the problem was fixed, the Mayor chose to press on regardless.
Following the debate, a vote was taken on whether to conform to the public petition of reject it. Unsurprisingly the vote was carried on party lines, with the Labour administration using its majority to reject the public petition. Croydon Conservatives remain committed to supporting residents on this crucial issue.
Conservative Group Leader, Councillor Tim Pollard, said "I have met nobody except the forty Labour councillors and their apologists who think that closing the venue for two years or more is a good idea. All the Fairfield's user groups and key groups around the town want Labour to phase the development to keep part of it open throughout, but Labour is just not listening. As a result they are going to gamble with the Fairfield's future and what we get back when it finally reopens may welll bear no resemblance to the Fairfield of today."