A plan to regenerate Woodside ticket office

By - Friday 27th April, 2018

How an abandoned station building can be made into a community hub

Photo by Disused Stations, used with permission.

For far too many years the former Woodside station building has sat empty and unused. It was shut in 1997 when the Addiscombe branch of Network South East was closed down to make way for the new Tramlink system. Transport for London purchased the building in 2007 and restored elements of the building, saving it from decay; however, it was left unused. It now faces the inevitable prospect of failing into decay again.

Many ideas have been floated about a potential re-use – but nothing has stuck. An initiative from The Berry – a grassroots gardening service which I founded last year – is one that finally provides a viable plan to utilise this fine little building.

The aim is to refurbish the building and turn it into a multi-use hub for the benefit of the local and wider community.

The proposed uses are as follows:

  • A non-profit café (to aid becoming financially self-sufficient)
  • A museum to celebrate the depth of local history,
  • A ‘chill-out’ zone and social cohesion workshop for young people
  • Communal facilities including toilets and a kitchen
  • Event and exhibition space
  • Sensory room for autistic children

For fourteen to seventeen year olds, finding a public building to ‘chill’ in can be a particularly tough job. For legal reasons, pubs are not an option, and the same old park can be potentially dangerous. By renovating this space, our chill-out zone will provide a sensible but fun space to socialise with others in a youth club-type environment.

Sadly, there has been a rise in knife-related deaths in London, Croydon and, in particular, South Norwood. We want to work with local groups to combine our youth zone idea with hosting workshops with the aim of educating young people in a relaxed, fun, informal but serious way, avoiding a ‘classroom’ environment. The current programmes in schools and colleges have the ‘boring’ stigma attached, so we want to tackle this issue in this innovative way.

Woodside Station in the 1960s.
Photo by Disused Stations, used with permission.

So far, I have engaged and met with Transport for London (the site owners) and Croydon Council. I have also been in conversation with our local GLA member and MP, who have expressed their support. It is now a case of meeting with Transport for London again to see how to proceed.

Re-using unused space

The building will be kicked back into use after being left to decay since 1997.

Building skills for local people

We will create employment with our café, allowing social and hospitality skills to be learned and used. The workshops will aid public speaking and listening skills – something very rarely taught in schools.

Celebrating the local area

A small-but-sizeable museum will be set up to showcase the vast history of the local area.

Welcome and involve everyone

We will encourage friendships, by creating spaces for people from all backgrounds and walks of life to have fun together, to share experiences and to meet new people.

We want the project to work collectively, be innovative and be continually in conversation with the local community. For more on this project, please follow us on Twitter: @theberrycdn or if you would like to get involved, please leave comments below or email me on jamestaylor2915@gmail.com

James Taylor

James Taylor

James has been living in Addington Village for fourteen years. In 2017, he set up The Berry, an organisation with two core projects: the first being a community gardening service (already in motion), and the second to acquire and refurbish the old Woodside station building.

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  • http://idioplatform.com/ Jonny Rose


    It’s always a pleasure to see Croydoners who step up and tangibly effect positive change in their community. This looks like a really worthy endeavour and I hope you get the support you need to make it happen.

    Great plan and I hope it will come together over the next few/months and years, sir :)

  • Gav

    Sounds like a great idea James. Wishing you all the best in your endeavour.

  • Barbara

    A coffee shop would work well with people using the tram. Equally a toilet, you could even charge for use. There is a sensory room at Woodside children centre, but if the coffee shop had a nice secure soft play area you’d never be out of customers, commuters morning and evening and mums/childminders during the day

  • Rachel

    Hi. I’d love to get involved. I’ll email you