Crystal Palace’s stadium redevelopment will regenerate the area around Selhurst Park, bringing it alive for the community, club chairman Steve Parish told the Generation Croydon conference yesterday.
Speaking in a panel discussion entitled 'Croydon’s Next Generation', he outlined the opportunities the redevelopment would offer the community, giving the Palace for Life Foundation a new headquarters and allowing it to extend its extensive work with young people in the borough.
He said: "We are tremendously excited about our part in the massive redevelopment going on in Croydon. We want to bring Selhurst Park alive during the day, it's not being used as much as we would like.
"The Foundation gets a lot of people off the streets and there will be a strong youth element to the way we use the site. There will also be medical uses and other secondary uses”.
The Chairman welcomed plans to open a new OnSide Youth Zone in Thornton Heath next year, as part of the wider redevelopment of the borough, saying it was an exciting project that deserved support.
Fielding questions from delegates at the conference, organised by the Develop Croydon partnership, he said plans to fund the redevelopment were in place. Negotiations are continuing with the local authority relating to the purchase of land and houses that is a condition of planning permission, so there is not yet a confirmed start date for the project but he said work would begin “as soon as possible”.
The planned construction of the new stand will take place whilst the current Main Stand is still operational, meaning that work can take place during the football season. The existing seating area will eventually form the lower tier of the new Main Stand, and the construction of the roof is the only phase of the project that will have to take place during the close season.
Asked whether the development would go ahead, regardless of the club’s fortunes on the field, he said: “It’s a long-term plan for the future of the football club. To be competitive, we need as much revenue as possible and other Premier League clubs have £20m-£30m more revenue than us. The long-term objective has to be to get into the top half of the table and stay there and we need to build this facility to help us do that”.
Panellists were asked about the role of technology in Croydon’s development projects, and Parish outlined plans for full connectivity at the stadium, allowing everyone inside and outside the ground to get a phone signal without the need for wifi - greatly enhancing supporters’ matchday experience, including allowing them to use their phones to order food and drink.
The conference at Croydon Park Hotel was attended by several hundred delegates and fellow panellists were Neil Chandler, Venue Director of BH Live Fairfield Halls; Kathryn Morley, chief executive of OnSide Youth Zones; and Michael Purefoy, sales and marketing director of R & F Properties, who are developing Queen’s Square in Croydon.
Register your interest in the Selhurst Park redevelopment now, by clicking here.