Saturday, February 22, 2020. That's when Matthews Yard will close for the last time.

Saif Bonar founded the arts hub nearly eight years ago, but back in February Croydon Council's planning committee approved plans for an eight story block of 55 flats at the site.

This was devastating news for Saif, who had fought tirelessly against the development, but eventually was resigned to the fact that construction would go ahead.

"It’s got easier with time, it’s almost like dealing with a death in the family," he told the Croydon Guardian.

"We just want to make the most of the time we have left."

It makes things easier when you have someone to share those experiences with though.

Leoni Descartes was one of the first people Saif hired at the hub.

Now the pair have three kids together and a lifetime of memories.

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It's chance meetings like this that he will remember most fondly about the place he calls his own.

"The best thing is seeing the impact it has on the lives of people," he added.

"A little less so now because trade is down. But back when it was buzzing you’d have someone over there, another sat over there, they’d get to talking and go off and start off a venture together. Giving people a platform to build their vehicles is what we've always been about."

But months after the flats decision was handed down, the father-of-three is looking toward the future, rather than to the past. That includes relocating the Yard so that its legacy can continue.

"The more time that has gone on, the more we realise this maybe isn’t the best location," he continued.

"Everyone who comes in we pretty much have to physically drag them in."

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Saif said that while no contracts have been signed, discussions are ongoing that would see the venture move closer to town, near West Croydon station.

"I’m more looking forward to moving now and the potential that brings us now, a good launch pad to much bigger and better things," he said.

"It’s been a long process because we’ve physically looked at dozens of places and nothing really stood out as the one, but this one, fingers crossed we can get it, we really feel positive about.

"It will still have a café bar kitchen element and an events element. It will be a similar mix of events. We want it to be a space for anyone.

"The look will be slightly different, a little more industrial and a little less rustic, but we hope to keep some of its charm."

But until then, the Yard in its current form continues, much to the delight of Stef Cali, founder of restaurant Follow.

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Stef took over the kitchen duties at the Yard late last year and has been delighting customers with her vegan burgers ever since.

"It's my first restaurant and first time as a chef and I really wanted to get good vegan junk food out to the community," she said.

"I now realise why chefs find kitchen work hard. You know you don’t realise something until you get out and do it. Even though I’m not at the levels of the chefs you see cooking on TV, it’s still a lot of pressure."

Stef first meet Saif through a friend who worked at Vegan Grill - the restaurant which had operated inside Matthew's Yard prior to Follow.

She said despite coming in at a point when the sands of time were already running out, she never looked back.

"I think the last two months have been really good," she added.

"When you’re starting out you need something and I’ve had Saif’s help.

"It’s got me on my feet a lot easier than it would have been somewhere else."

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Cronx Brewery co-founder Mark Russell still remembers the day he served one of his beers to Prince Charles at the Yard.

It was soon after the Croydon riots took place 2011 and he still remembers the moment like it was yesterday.

But something that has lasted all those years is the connection he made with Saif, a connection that has now seen Mark take over the running of the bar until last call comes next month.

"I’ve always been a keen Croydonite and to promote Croydon with good beer," Mark said.

"We’ve worked with Saif for a number of years and we both started up at around the same time and we’ve looked to do things in the past.

"We wanted to expand a bit from our base in Boxpark and Saif gave us the opportunity to put a couple extra taps on."

He said losing a place like Matthews Yard would be a shame for the community, but hopes that it can continue to thrive if and when a new premises is secured.