The Croydon Town Centre Opportunity Area Planning Framework (OAPF) was adopted by the Mayor of London in January 2013. The framework was prepared as a collaboration between the GLA, Croydon Council and TfL.
The Croydon Opportunity Area (COA) has excellent transport connections and presents great opportunities for growth. It has a distinctive local characteristic and includes a variety of building styles and architectural approaches which add to the areas uniqueness.
Between the 1950s and 1980s the COA underwent significant change, which led to the establishment of the COA as a leading London Metropolitan Centre offering a large commercial, retail and civic function on a London scale.
Over the last 30 years, however, the COA’s prominence has declined. This decline is largely as a result of a decrease in demand for ‘back-of-house’ office space in the area and the emergence of Canary Wharf as an alternative office location. This has led to an increase in vacant office space and a related fall in the numbers of people working, and travelling into, the COA.
During this time there has also been limited investment in the COA. There has been little or no change to the physical make-up of the area. Evidence of this can be seen in the limited improvement in the quality of public realm, which was badly damaged during rapid modernist development.
This lack of improvement continues to damage peoples perception of the area. The COA has been slow to present itself in an alternative light, which it must do if it is attract the development and investment that is necessary to bring change.
Regeneration of the COA has never been more important. There is no single solution, but rather a mixture of increased economic, retail, residential, cultural and social activities all set within a pleasant urban environment. Action and carefully guided development is needed to generate the energy and dynamism required to stem this decline.
An objective of the OAPF is to put in place a flexible plan that will support the growth of the COA as a successful London Metropolitan Centre over the next 20 years.
The main objectives of the OAPF are to;
- Support the development of 7,300 homes
- Plan delivery of social infrastructure necessary to accommodate 17,000 new residents
- Promote the redevelopment and renewal of the Retail core
- Plan for the revival of prominent high streets
- Encourage the location of new office/commercial space around New Town and East Croydon
- Plan for, and enable the, delivery of new and improved streets and amenity spaces
- Promote high quality architecture and built form
- Ensure enhanced transport and parking capacity
One of the most notable aspects in the OAPF is the promotion of new housing across all areas of the COA. The OAPF supports the development of 7,300 new homes. Bringing new housing and people into the COA is necessary to help create a new community. New residents will be instrumental in generating activity and demand. Residents will live in a mix of high quality private and affordable homes designed to cater for a diversity of people. Hotels and student accommodation will provide specialised housing.
The OAPF strongly supports the potential for a renewed and improved retail offer. In particular, a comprehensive redevelopment and renewal approach to much of the Retail core would offer residents, visitors, shoppers and employees a significant retail destination for both south London and the southeast of England. In addition, the COA’s high streets perform an important social, cultural and economic role for the local community and the OAPF supports enhancement.
The OAPF will support new and refurbished commercial space, particularly in New Town and East Croydon. The character of the commercial sector in other parts of the COA will change. Outdated offices will be refurbished, converted and redeveloped to embrace new ways of working and living.
It is important that new development is set within a quality public realm so that both can create an overall positive built environment. High quality streets and spaces, good quality buildings and an enhanced and preserved heritage setting will help create a physical environment to attract private sector investment. Creating a more pleasant urban environment is critical to the future success of the COA.