The Fairfield Halls’ venue and artistic director Neil Chandler has quit just six months after the Croydon Council-owned arts centre re-opened.

The news comes a week after Chandler was explaining to a Town Hall committee of councillors about the challenges of managing five cancelled re-opening dates – including one royal gala performance – and still having to get the venue ready for the public following its £42.6m refurbishment.

The venue has undergone lengthy delays and additional multi-million-pound costs, and his departure comes within a week of London Mayor Sadiq Khan naming Croydon as his ‘Borough of Culture’ for 2023.

Chandler was hired for by the council’s venue operators, BH Live, in November 2017.

Chandler’s Linked In profile suggests that he has left the Fairfield Halls for a contract position at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster, starting in April.

The Fairfield Halls has faced criticism for the late delivery of its refurbishment work – it re-opened in September 2019, 15 months later than scheduled.

While not the direct responsibility of Chandler, there’s been criticism of the poor quality of the finished work and the unfinished nature of the project, like renewing the seating at the opening in the Ashcroft Theatre and Concert Hall, the often uncleaned and scruffy look of some common areas, to the lack of car-parking space.