Welcome to the virtual Public Exhibition of Spurgeon’s College’s educational facilities and residential accommodation plans.
In preparation for the submission of a future planning application, Spurgeon’s College and our planning partners are pleased to share proposals for the creation of replacement and new educational facilities, enabled through the provision of new residential homes. The original part of the existing main College building is being retained.
We planned to hold this public consultation in person at Spurgeon’s College, however due to the outbreak of Covid-19 we took the decision to host a virtual consultation through this website. We have also sent out physical leaflets and comment sheets to our neighbours, so that those without IT facilities can participate in this consultation. Please see below for an outline of our proposals. Further details can be found in our uploaded exhibition boards.
As our neighbours and friends, we are keen to hear your thoughts on our proposals. Information on how to give feedback can be seen at the bottom of this page.
History of Spurgeon’s College
Proposal – Concept
Proposal – Site Plan
Character and Materials
Comments and Next Steps
Thank you for taking the time to consider our plans. We hope that you will support our proposals to expand our educational offer, provide much needed high-quality housing and make essential repairs and improvements to our site.
We would very much value your feedback. These comments will be used to inform potential amendments to the property, which we will showcase in our second public consultation later in the year. This second consultation will provide an additional opportunity to make further comments.
Your comments will be recorded in the Statement of Community Involvement that will be submitted to the Council as part of the future planning application. Once plans have been submitted, the Council will undertake statutory consultation on the proposal.
or print off a comment sheet here and post it to:
FAO Rev Prof Philip McCormack
South Norwood Hill
London SE25 6DJ
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How will the proposed development expand the College’s educational offer?
Currently our educational offer includes providing world leading theology education and gold standard counselling courses to over 700 students. Our graduates go on to make valuable contributions to the Croydon Community. We want to be able to offer this opportunity to more students, in more subjects, benefitting the community in more ways.
The proposed development will help us to expand our educational offer in a number of ways. It will create new educational buildings – including lecture theatres and classrooms – so we can teach more students in better and more accessible facilities. The proposed residential accommodation will also provide the financial uplift needed to allow us to offer a wider range of courses to more students – which will help us on our journey to becoming the first home grown university in Croydon.
How will the proposed development benefit the local area and community?
Supporting our community is one of our top priorities as an institution.
We support a diverse range of students from the borough who go on to make valuable contributions to the Croydon community as Spurgeon’s graduates. We support the local refugee community and provide life changing educational opportunities within our borough. As a world leader in theology, we create global links with institutions around the world – helping to put Croydon on the map. We regularly welcome community groups onto our site to use our buildings to host meetings and events. This development will allow us to continue to do this, and even more.
Crucially, without the improved facilities and finances that this proposed development will provide, we cannot continue this work, expand our educational offer, and grow our ability to support the community.
How will you protect the wildlife living on the site?
A range of ecological surveys are currently underway so that we can fully understand what habitats, wildlife and species use the site. As part of the development of the scheme, we will look at opportunities to enhance biodiversity to support the habitats of existing wildlife, such as by providing insect hotels and bird and bat boxes. Appropriate mitigation will be identified to ensure appropriate care is taken during any vegetation clearance to ensure it is sympathetic to the potential presence of the species and any nests identified would be dealt with in a sensitive manner to ensure protection of the species.
Will trees be removed for the development?
The on-site trees are a valuable asset to us and our neighbours and we are seeking to retain as many trees as possible. The woodland will be retained and enhanced. In other areas of the site mature trees that have the greatest value will be retained. Further detail will be provided on trees at the next public consultation event in the Autumn.
Are the proposed residential buildings student accommodation?
The proposed buildings are not student accommodation – they will be open to private residents and are designed to provide high quality housing within the borough. Currently only 10% of the student accommodation is occupied demonstrating that there is no longer a demand for student accommodation on site.
What is the timeline for the consultation and proposed development?
Our consultation will close on the 10th August. We will then collate the comments we have received and use them to inform our proposal. We with then hold a second consultation in the Autumn.
How will you ensure that the community feel of the College, and its core mission are maintained for students when you open the site up to residents?
While the College is planning to expand its educational offer, our central mission – to teach men and women for ministry will remain. The name of the College, and our values will not change.
The residential accommodation will be clearly distinguished from the educational areas of the site, meaning that the College retains its community feel for students.
What steps will you take to improve the accessibility for people with disabilities on site?
The majority of new buildings and public realm spaces will be step free. Wide corridors and open-plan spaces will ensure accessibility is significantly improved compared to the current buildings.
How will you ensure there is enough parking?
Within the constraints of local and regional planning policy, car parking will be managed within the development at grade and also within a dedicated semi basement/lower ground floor. Parking spaces will be allocated accordingly between the existing college and proposed residential use. Additionally car club access will be facilitated to reduce the need for private vehicle ownership. A Parking Management Plan will also be developed to control and identify protocol for assigning spaces with priority for those with an accessible need.
A Travel Plan will also be developed for the Site to promote and maximise opportunities for sustainable travel. A Travel Plan Co-Ordinator will be appointed to provide information on access arrangements, walking, cycling and public transport services, including maps and website links to real-time journey information. Cycle facilities will be provided in accordance with the latest London Plan Standards for all users of the development. The Travel Plan Co-ordinator will inform and encourage the residents to attend cycle training courses and distribute information on cycle maintenance and local user groups.
What are the stories behind the names of the proposed buildings?
The proposed Thomas Johnson and Margaret Jarman buildings have been named after inspirational Spurgeon’s College graduates.
Thomas Johnson was an African-American, born into slavery on a Northern Virginia plantation in the mid-1800s. Thomas was eventually freed from slavery following the fall of Richmond, Virginia and the Emancipation Proclamation. Thomas, had by then become a follower of Christ and felt called to be a missionary to those in Africa who did not yet know about Christianity. However as Thomas had been a slave for 28 years, he had no formal education. Thomas heard about Charles Spurgeon in London who not only had set up and education programme to teach theology, but who was also a very vocal opponent to slavery. One of Thomas’ friends wrote to Spurgeon asking if Thomas could train there and Spurgeon famously replied “Let the dear man come.” Thomas Johnson and his wife, Henrietta, came to England. Thomas trained at Spurgeon’s College as the first African-American student. After training Thomas went on to Africa where he was a missionary.
There is a book written about him which can be found here.
Margaret Jarman was born in 1932 and after school initially went into farming and worked as a herdswoman. She became a Christian and later in 1961 she became the first female student to study at Spurgeon’s College. After College she worked within the Baptist denomination and was ordained as a Baptist Minister in 1967. She later went on to become the first female President of the Baptist Union of Great Britain in 1987. Margaret passed away in 2018.
A fuller bio of Margaret Jarman can be found here.
How will you ensure that residents’ privacy is maintained?
Through a carefully designed woodland management plan, the proposed development would only require the removal of a limited number of trees. The woodland and treeline would act as a screen, as it currently does, to maintain and protect our neighbours privacy.