Judging by the flurry of comments this has generated so far on social media, all the early indications are that our efforts are paying off.
The introduction of a stunning new art installation opposite East Croydon station (pictured, courtesy of David Cook, Croydon Advertiser) and a series of colourful planting schemes and floral displays along some of Croydon’s main thoroughfares have provided a welcome blaze of colour at strategic locations across the centre of town.
Each of the visible improvements to the town’s urban street scene is the result of several new initiatives instigated by the BID as part of the pledge it made to businesses to deliver brighter streets and keep the town centre looking its best while Croydon’s re-development progresses.
Thousands of commuters who pass through East Croydon daily cannot have failed to notice the huge, new rainbow-coloured art installation sited directly opposite the railway station, welcoming passers-by and encouraging them to ‘Explore Croydon’.
Created by the team from Croydon’s award-winning RISE Gallery, the work was commissioned by the BID with the twin aims of encouraging people to venture further afield into the town centre in order to explore all that it has to offer, while introducing much-needed vibrancy into an area that has long been ripe for development.
The design incorporates 39 coloured panes each of which represents a district of Croydon as well as a six metre light box with the message ‘Welcome to Croydon’, all helping to create an eye-catching, positive first impression at one of the main gateways into the town centre.
Commenting on the installation, RISE Gallery owner, Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison said: “Because East Croydon is one of the most-used stations in south London, we’ve always seen it as an ideal spot to capture people’s attention with art.
“The idea is that the piece tells people that Croydon is a colourful and vibrant place with loads going. We have got a lot of different districts in Croydon but we are actually one community and that is something to be extremely proud of,” he added.
Croydon BID chief executive, Matthew Sims said: “We are absolutely delighted with the concept and the impact that the installation has already created.
“It’s an innovative idea and adds a huge degree of vibrancy to a rapidly developing part of the town. It also does a great job in helping to grab the attention of those new to the town, attracted in by Boxpark for example, and encouraging them to venture beyond East Croydon station to explore fully everything that Croydon has to offer.”
Meanwhile, a blaze of summer colour has also begun to appear at other key locations across the town centre as hanging baskets, planting schemes and colourful planters burst into bloom, following the BID’s appointment of Windowflowers, as its new horticultural supplier.
One of the UK’s largest independent contractors, the multi award-winning family-owned business grows over one million plants each year and currently works with such prestigious clients as The Royal Horticultural Society, The Royal Mail, The Home Office, The Ritz, Citibank and The Houses of Parliament.
“As a partnership, we have already begun making great strides to introduce much-needed colour and vibrancy across the town centre with several locations including George Street, Dingwall Road, Thomas Turner Path and Reeves Corner already being rejuvenated as a result of Windowflowers’ efforts and there will be even more to follow,” said Mr Sims.
“To underpin our work, we have also appointed Arup to prepare a vision for innovative greening interventions across the town centre and the work, which is being funded by the Greater London Authority, will help to form the basis of our strategic direction over the next few years in the drive to deliver brighter streets.”
Complementing Croydon BID’s greening activities, the BID is continuing to ensure the town centre’s streets are clean and fresh for people to use, working closely with its specialist cleaning contractors, Community Clean, whose highly recognisable and popular cleaning team provide a two days per week deep-cleaning, wash-down, graffiti and gum removal service.
Since November 2012, over 21,000 extra hours of deep-cleaning have been funded in the town centre by the BID, covering 191,000 square metres of pavement.