Q. Why are you consulting again on your development plans for the campus?
A. In July 2020 and July 2021, we hosted a series of events to share our proposals for the development of our campus on South Norwood Hill. We are extremely grateful to everyone who attended and shared their valuable insights. Since then, we have taken time to pause and reflect upon your feedback The latest consultation enables us to share our updated and improved plans with you.
Q. Why is this development necessary?
A. Unfortunately, the existing site and buildings at Spurgeon’s College are unable to support our long-term sustainable future at this site in Croydon. Therefore, these ambitious and necessary proposals are vital to securing the College’s long-term presence at the site in Croydon.
Q. What are your development plans for Spurgeon’s College?
A. We would like to create new educational facilities for Spurgeon’s College and deliver new homes for Croydon. The proposals will:
- substantially increase the quality and capacity of teaching facilities;
- support higher education and university provision within Croydon;
- improve access to the campus for people with accessibility needs;
- offer a wider variety of degrees in Theology, Humanities and the Social Sciences;
- strengthen our support for the local community through long-term jobs creation;
- extend our community outreach services across the Borough;
- deliver much needed new housing.
Q. How do your development plans differ from last time?
A. Since our last consultation in 2021, we have worked alongside a new development team, comprising London Square, and have made several amendments to the previous scheme to create a new vision for the overall site masterplan.
- Housing numbers – a significant reduction in the number of proposed new homes from nearly 200 to around 110
- Height and massing – overall height and massing was reduced across the proposed development with a maximum of 5 storeys now proposed
- Protecting neighbouring amenity – increased separation distances to neighbouring properties are now proposed with a minimum of 18m
- Sensitive retention of Walker House – the updated proposals better enhance the college green with new college facilities proposed within a modern sub-terranean extension
- Residential Design Standards – the proposals deliver more family homes and meet all the required standards
Q. If the proposals are successful, when would work on the development begin, and when would it be completed?
A. If the development proposals are approved, we anticipate that work on site would being in Autumn 2024. The new homes and academic facilities be completed by around Spring 2027.
Q. What new educational facilities will be delivered?
A. The proposed redevelopment will help us grow our student population and offer greater academic choice by substantially enhancing our current academic facilities. The plans involve retaining Walker House and demolishing the adjoining ad-hoc extensions, whilst creating new college facilities of high architectural quality, which will allow the College to grow and deliver new courses. These facilities will include:
- A larger library facility
- 13 new classrooms
- New meeting rooms
- New conferencing facilities
Q. How many new homes would be built?
A. The proposals aim to deliver around 110 new homes of a mix of sizes. The average number of homes per core will be 6 (the London Plan states a maximum of 8 per core). The homes will all have private external space and dedicated play space for young children, and have been designed to maximise dual aspect properties – where windows are located on two or more walls – to provide natural ventilation and light.
Q. Is there a need for new homes in the Borough?
A. Like other local authorities across London, Croydon Council is under significant pressure to build homes to help address the growing demand. Croydon has a housing target of 2,079 new homes annually in the London Plan.
Q. Who are the homes aimed at?
A. The indicative accommodation schedule will see around 50% 1-bed properties, 34% 2-bed properties, and 16% 3-bed properties.
Q. What will the homes look like?
A. The properties will comprise 110 new homes, comprising apartments. There will be an average of 6 homes per core (the London Plan states a maximum of 8 per core). They building design is still at an early stage, but we are considering a light brick colour scheme to complement the style of Walker House.
Q. How tall will the buildings be?
A. A maximum of 5 storeys is proposed across the development.
Q. Will local people be able to access the College grounds and community facilities?
A. Spurgeon’s College already welcomes a wide range of people onto our campus. Alongside students, we are proud of our extensive community outreach programmes, which use College facilities to host meetings and events. Should our development plans be successful, we are exploring options for the new educational and community buildings to be available for hire, for example for events or conferences.
Q. What will happen to Spurgeon’s College if these plans are not successful?
A. These development proposals are crucial to securing a sustainable future for Spurgeon’s College at this site. If implemented, the development will ensure the College can achieve its academic and community goals, whilst securing its long-term financial sustainability. This is our only option on site.
Q. Can the College become a University without this development proposal?
A. Being granted Full Degree Awarding Powers by the Office for Students, the Regulator for Higher Education in England in 2022 was a crucial step in our journey to become Croydon’s first home-grown university by 2025. These development proposals are critical to us achieving this goal by growing our student population whilst offering greater academic choice of theological and non-theological degree-level courses.
Q. Will the College offer solely theological courses as a University?
A. Spurgeon’s College already offers both theological and non-theological programmes for students, including counselling and pastoral supervision courses. The development proposals and our aspirations to attain University status will enable us to further expand our academic offering with more university-level courses in a range of business, educational and humanities subjects, widening access to high-quality education for students in Croydon.
Q. How many new students will the College have, should the proposals be successful?
A. The proposed improvement and expansion of the College’s educational facilities and site accessibility will enable us to admit more students, with a projection of 2,600 students by 2035. The development is projected to increase the number of university students able to access higher education in Croydon by around 500%.
Q. What does the College contribute to the local area and how will the proposals support your community outreach?
A. We are proud to be part of the Croydon community, and are passionate and genuine in our efforts to support local people through our current outreach work.
It is important that our development proposals help us to grow and strengthen community support by widening public access to the new campus, increasing access to degree-level education, and creating long-term employment opportunities. In addition to these social benefits, the new development will bring a range of economic benefits. Expanding our student population and removing the outdated student residential accommodation currently available on site, means that students will seek accommodation and services within the Borough and invest in the local economy.
We are also exploring options for the new educational and community buildings to be available for hire, for example for events or conferences.
Q. How is sustainability included in the development proposals?
A. Embedding sustainability and enhancing green spaces around Spurgeon’s College campus are two of our core design principles. The 2023 masterplan vision includes:
- Creating 20% of proposed car parking immediately equipped with electric vehicle charging points. The remaining 80% will be connected for future installation.
- Optimising the use of green and biodiverse roofs, which will collect rainwater, while cooling the building in summer and providing habitats for birds and insects.
- Promoting sustainable modes of travel including walking, cycling and public transport.
- Encouraging walking with a network of pedestrian walkways across the campus.
- Reducing reliance on fossil fuels with air source heat pumps and solar photovoltaic panels proposed for the energy strategy.
- Using a fabric first approach to materials meaning the building envelope will be energy efficient, resulting in low energy consumption and less CO2 emissions.
- Protecting and enhance green spaces and biodiversity around the site.
- New, dedicated play spaces for younger children.
Q. How many parking spaces will there be?
A. The proposals include approximately 87 car parking spaces, including 31 for College use, 54 for residents, and two car-club bays. Car parking will be subject to a management plan to ensure that it is appropriately managed.
Q. How will public and greener transport be encouraged?
A. Spurgeon’s College sits within a sustainable location. Numerous bus routes and stops are in the immediate vicinity, including services for the 196 and 468 buses, and Norwood Junction railway station is approximately a 16-minute walk to the south. Cycle parking will be provided in line with planning policy and the London Cycling Design Standards. As part of the overall transport strategy, it is proposed that a minibus service for the college will be provided from the local station to actively encourage the use of public transport, cycling and walking, where possible.
Q. Are you holding public consultation events?
A. We held two public consultation events on Tuesday 11th July 2023 between 4:00pm – 8:00pm, and Saturday 15th July 2023, between 10:00am – 2:00pm. Both events took place at Spurgeon’s College itself.
For anyone who was unable to attend, the information boards can be found on this consultation website.
Q. How can I provide feedback on your proposals?
A. We welcome your comments on our development proposals. Feedback can be provided via our online feedback form until 31st July 2023.
You will also have further opportunity to comment on our plans, once they have been submitted to Croydon Council in Autumn 2023, as part of their statutory public consultation on the application.
Q. Who are your project partners on the development?
A. We have worked with a new team of experts and specialist consultants to shape our revised vision for Spurgeon’s College, comprising London Square, as well as award-winning architects JTP and Hollaway.
Q. What are the next steps in terms of your development proposals?
A. The consultation window will close on Monday 31st July 2023. Following this, all public feedback will be collated into a report, which will be submitted – alongside the final planning application – to Croydon Council in Autumn 2023. As the Planning Authority, Croydon Council will then decide whether to approve or reject our proposals.
Here is a timeline of the overall process.
- July 2020 – public consultation on previous scheme
- July 2021 – public consultation on previous scheme
- July 2023 – current round of public consultation
- Autumn 2023 – target submission of a planning application to Croydon Council
- Summer 2024 – expected determination of the planning application
- Autumn 2024 – target start of construction on site
- Spring 2027 – anticipated completion date
Q. When does your consultation close?
A. The consultation window closes on Monday 31st July 2023.
Q. When will you submit your final planning application to Croydon Council?
A. The planning application for Spurgeon’s College will be submitted to Croydon Council in Autumn 2023.
Q. How can I get in touch with Spurgeon’s College regarding the development proposals?
A. We welcome your feedback on the development proposals for our campus using the online feedback form. Alternatively, should you wish to contact us about other matters, please get in touch via:
FAO Rev Prof Philip McCormack
South Norwood Hill
London SE25 6DJ