This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 08/03/2018.
Has one of Croydon’s best loved venues just been saved from closure?
Matthews Yard has been given special status.
The founder of Matthews Yard has said he is “delighted” after the venue was recognised as an Asset of Community Value (ACV).
The Surrey Street venue’s future had been under threat after a development company applied to have the building that contains the popular arts hub transformed into modern flats.
Although this announcement does not guarantee the venue’s future, it has been welcomed as a huge step forward.
By securing ACV status before the developers purchased the asset, the community right to bid rules have been triggered – meaning that should the owners of the building still wish to sell, Matthews Yard would be entitled to submit a bid within 6 weeks.
If accepted, they would then have four and a half months to raise the money to buy the asset.
Saif Bonar, Founder of Matthews Yard, said: “We are delighted to announce that [Croydon Council] granted us Asset of Community Value status today.
“Thank you to everyone who has tirelessly supported our campaign to #SaveMatthewsYard so far.”
After a pre-planning application was submitted to transform the venue, founded after the Croydon Riots, into flats a campaign was started by Mr Bonar and supporters of Matthews Yard.
This support included MP for Croydon Central, Sarah Jones, Steve O’Connell and Conservative Assembly member for Croydon and Sutton.
This led to a petition to save the hub, which attracted over 5,700 signatures, being discussed at a council meeting.
On Wednesday (March 7) Director of Strategy and Partnerships, Julian Ellerby, announced the venue would be now recognised as an ACV.
In a decision notice, it said: “I can confirm that the nomination [of Matthews Yard] satisfies the requirements of an ACV nomination and should therefore be included on the list of successful Community Nominations and that interested parties be notified accordingly.”
Mr Bonar said: “The decision by the council to support the nomination for Matthews Yard as an ACV is the right one and a great first step in securing a permanent future for Matthew Yard as an independent, non-profit, cultural and community hub in the heart of Croydon.
“It is sad that it has taken so much hard work on the part of the local community to achieve this status and that the council has not been even more supportive of Matthews Yard in recent years.
“I hope, the new non-profit status together with ACV will help convince senior officers and local councillors that Matthews Yard plays a vital and selfless role in safeguarding and supporting grassroots community and cultural groups in Croydon and should continue to do so for many generations to come.”