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John Puttick wins planning for Croydon ‘youth zone’ as practice moves to London

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John Puttick Associates has won planning permission for a £6 million youth centre in Thornton Heath, Croydon

The project for charity OnSide Youth Zones will create a landmark new facility on Whitehorse Road for young people aged 8 to 19, or up to 25 with disabilities.

The approval comes just months after the practice, originally based in New York, announced it had ‘moved base’ to nearby Vauxhall in south London.

The firm won a high-profile competition for a similar ‘youth zone’ facility next to Preston Bus Station two years ago. The ongoing project is part of a £23 million overhaul of the 1969 BDP-designed icon.

Commenting on the latest scheme, practice principal John Puttick said: ‘Like at Preston, the brief in Croydon builds on a community-based approach by creating a building that is welcoming and thereby encourages young people to take part in a variety of activities such as sports, arts, media or trying out a new activity.

‘However, each site is, of course, different and for the Youth Zone in Croydon, we wanted to make the most of the special qualities of this wooded site.’

On Side Youth Zones project director Mark Ward said: ‘Gaining planning consent in Croydon is really exciting for everybody involved, especially the young people of the area.

‘Youth Zones have a remarkable track record of changing the lives of so many young people and we can’t wait for that offer to extend to Croydon. Our next step is to get on the site and get building this fantastic facility.’

Croydon Council’s cabinet member for children, young people and learning, Alisa Flemming, said: ‘It’s great that the project can now go full steam ahead with the construction phase that the council is investing millions of pounds into.

‘I can’t wait to see our new Youth Zone open because I know how much our young people are looking forward to taking advantage of the amazing facilities it will have on offer.’

Clad in board-on-board Siberian Larch and charcoal-grey brick, the Croydon Youth Zone will occupy a site next to an existing recreation ground with a number of large mature trees

It will feature a performance space and sports hall located beneath separate mono-pitched roofs positioned in the gaps between the trees.

Inside it will include a central double-height hall, providing a social place and meeting point for building users and connecting different areas. The main entrance will feature a climbing wall, and there will also be an outdoor recreation area and kick-pitch.

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