Croydon’s future secured with agreement to redevelop town centre

17 January 2013

Croydon town centre and its economy are set to be transformed with £1 billion of investment, the Mayor Boris Johnson announced today.

 

With his assistance, international retail developers Westfield and Hammerson plc - who had been working up separate proposals to redevelop Croydon’s Whitgift and Centrale shopping centres respectively - have agreed to enter into a 50/50 joint venture and will now develop the centres together.

 

Both developers had been working with the Mayor, in his role as London’s Strategic Planning Authority, and Croydon Council on their respective schemes but the joint venture agreement marks a major step towards securing the future of Croydon's retail core through this £1 billion regeneration scheme.

 

The proposed redevelopment means that the many regeneration successes achieved by both developers can be repeated in Croydon once a successful planning application has been approved. Westfield and Hammerson plc have already delivered significant regeneration through retail development centres across London and in major UK cities including Derby, Birmingham, and Southampton.

 

It is expected that the proposals for Croydon would support thousands of jobs during the construction phase and a further 5,000 long term jobs after completion providing a massive boost to the local economy as well as attracting thousands of new visitors and transforming the riot-hit town centre for ever.

 

The Mayor, in his planning role, will continue to work closely with Croydon Council on the planning application that will eventually be referred to him for his decision to ensure that it meets the needs of Croydon and the capital as a whole.

 

The Mayor will therefore consider using all his planning powers as required to avoid any unnecessary hold up to the regeneration of this important commercial hub of London including taking over the planning application to determine it himself. This may also mean using some of his compulsory purchase order powers to ensure the regeneration benefits of the scheme are maximised. If necessary the Mayor will explore this option with Croydon.

 

The good news follows the Mayor's commitment in 2011 to invest £23 million towards the rejuvenation of Croydon town centre following the August riots. Croydon is also receiving investment from the Mayor’s £50m Outer London Fund designed to grow economic activity and drive employment in parts of London that are benefitting less directly from major infrastructure improvements like Crossrail and the London staging the 2012 Games.

 

The announcement follows the Mayor’s approval yesterday of a new strategic planning framework for Croydon which will help deliver 7,300 homes, revive its high streets and retail centres, increase transport and parking capacity and create new and improved public spaces as well as the social infrastructure necessary for the 17,000 new residents it is expected to accommodate in the coming years.

 

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “Croydon has huge potential to return to its former glory as one of London’s most vibrant town centres, and a major driver of its economy. The redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre at its heart is crucial to this vision.“

 

Westfield and Hammerson’s innovative developments have breathed new life into long neglected corners of cities across the country, creating thousands of jobs and delivering growth that will soon be repeated in south London.

 

“It is great news that these two international developers are coming together to drive forward this vital regeneration and put Croydon at the heart of London’s future prosperity, building confidence for investors and local people in one of the capital’s most important town centres.”

 

Frank Lowy AC, Chairman of Westfield, said: “The £1billion redevelopment joint venture with Hammerson will provide certainty for the residents, local businesses and retailers of Croydon and the region. The delivery of a major retail regeneration scheme will re-establish Croydon as South London’s premier shopping district and will be a catalyst to further investment and development in the Croydon borough.”

 

David Atkins, Chief Executive of Hammerson, said: “We have shown our commitment to Croydon through our existing investments in the town centre and I believe that by working together with Westfield we can deliver a world class scheme for retailers and residents. Both we and Westfield remain excited and convinced by the opportunity in Croydon, which we can now progress with clarity.”

Notes to editors

1. The Mayor’s £23 million from his Regeneration Fund in Croydon is broken down as follows:

£5 million to improve the key entrances to Croydon, making them welcoming with more space for pedestrians and improving the transport interchange around West Croydon station, and the junction of Dingwall Road and Lansdowne Road near the new East Croydon station footbridge.

£7 million to repair and strengthen Croydon’s high street including its main north-south high street.

£6 million to make Croydon better connected by removing barriers to walking and improving routes between key destinations with improved pedestrian crossings across the Wellesley Road at Bedford Park Road, Lansdowne Road, George Street, the Fairfield Halls and Edridge Road.

£5 million to attract business with a three year package of support.

Croydon Town Centre Opportunity Area Planning Framework (OAPF)

 

Croydon Town Centre is identified as an Opportunity Area in the London Plan. London Plan Policy 2.13 “Opportunity Areas and Intensification Areas” states that the Mayor will provide proactive encouragement, support and leadership for partnerships preparing and implementing opportunity area planning frameworks to realise these areas’ growth potential. This London Plan policy sets an indicative employment capacity of 7,500 new jobs and 10,000 new homes, however, it is recognised that these figures are subject to a more detailed planning framework being prepared.

 

Opportunity Areas have been identified on the basis that they are capable of accommodating a substantial number of new jobs or homes and their potential should be maximised. These areas generally include brownfield sites with capacity for new development and places with potential for increases in density. Their development should be geared to the use of public transport and they are either located at areas of good access or would require public transport improvements to support development.

 

The main objectives of the Croydon OAPF are to;

 

Support the development of 7,300 homes

Plan delivery of social infrastructure necessary to accommodate 17,000 new residents

Promote reinvigoration of the retail core through development and renewal

Plan for the revival of prominent high streets

Encourage 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

- Until April 2008, when considering planning applications submitted to him, the Mayor could either leave the Local Planning Authority to decide whether to approve or refuse them or, if they did not conform with the London Plan policies, direct the borough to refuse them. Since then, where development proposals have implications for the capital as a whole, his new powers allow him to determine such planning applications.

 

Under powers contained within the Localism Act 2011, the Mayor has express powers to acquire land by agreement or land or new rights in land compulsorily for the purposes of housing or regeneration, if authorised to do so by the Secretary of state.

 

Westfield The Westfield Group has interests in and operates one of the world's largest shopping centre portfolios. The global portfolio has 104 high quality regional shopping centres in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, the United Kingdom and Brazil valued at A$62.9 (£41.4) billion with approximately 22,964 retailers in 9.6 million square metres of retail space.

 

The Westfield Group has interests in and operates 5 shopping centers in the United Kingdom valued in excess of £5.2 billion including Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City.

 

Westfield is a vertically integrated shopping centre group. It manages all aspects of shopping centre development, from design and construction through to leasing, management and marketing.

 

The Group’s objective is to own and operate the best and most productive assets, and create value by increasing return on equity through a more capital efficient business.

 

HammersonHammerson is a FTSE 100 real estate company focused on winning retail locations in the UK and France. Its portfolio of high-quality assets is focused on prime shopping centres, convenient retail parks and premium designer outlets, and has a value of over £5 billion.

 

Hammerson has been creating exciting retail destinations for over 60 years, and aims to be the best owner-manager and developer of retail property in Europe. It is invested in 20 prime shopping centres, 22 convenient retail parks and 9 premium designer outlets. Its centres include Brent Cross, London; Bullring, Birmingham; and Bicester Village, Oxford.