Mayor of London approves £1bn Croydon regeneration scheme
Plans to construct a £1 billion state-of-the-art retail and leisure development that will act as a major catalyst for regeneration in Croydon have been given the green light by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson today (Wednesday, November 27).
The project will see the Croydon Partnership, a joint venture between Westfield and developer Hammerson, replace the existing Whitgift Shopping Centre with a brand new 1.5 million square foot development – the third largest shopping centre in London.
The scheme will also comprise cinemas, a bowling alley and up to 600 new homes. It is expected that it will create more than 5,000 permanent jobs, many of which would be for local people.
The Mayor of London has been instrumental in bringing this agreement to fruition. Westfield and Hammerson had been working up separate proposals to redevelop Croydon’s Whitgift and Centrale shopping centres respectively but the Mayor brought both parties together to create a joint venture to develop both centres. The Centrale shopping centre already has planning consent for a refurbishment programme.
The site sits within the Croydon Opportunity Area – one of 33 areas designated by the Mayor with significant capacity for new housing, commercial and other development.
The Croydon Opportunity Area envisages the construction of 10,000 new homes and improvements to key parts of the local transport infrastructure, including East Croydon station. This will create 7,500 jobs.
Croydon was one of the capital’s leading town centres until the 1980s. However, over the last 30 years, its prominence has declined.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “This development will usher in a new era of prosperity for Croydon and help return it to its former glory. Hammerson has an excellent track record and the recent Westfield developments in London created thousands of jobs and attracted millions of visitors, giving others the confidence to invest.
“I am in no doubt that this new development will have a similar positive impact in Croydon and breathe new life and vitality into the town. There is no doubt that Croydon can once again become one of London's most vibrant town centres and a major driver of our economy and this development will bring that aspiration one step closer to reality.” The news follows the Mayor's commitment in 2011 to invest £23m towards the regeneration of Croydon town centre following the August 2011 riots. Croydon Council resolved to grant outline planning permission for the £1 billion scheme on Monday, November 25. The application will now be submitted to the Secretary of State for his approval.
John Burton, Director of Development of Westfield, commented: “Mayor Boris Johnson’s endorsement of Croydon Council’s decision to grant outline planning consent for our proposals to bring over £1bn of economic and social opportunity to Croydon marks the completion of yet another major milestone towards the delivery of this project. The Mayor’s commitment to the scheme also underlines the weight of political support there is for this once in a lifetime opportunity, which is fantastic news for the people of Croydon and invaluable to our ability to get the project moving”
Peter Cole, Chief Investment Officer of Hammerson, added: “We very much welcome the Mayor’s decision to approve our outline application and look forward to working with him and the council to deliver their vision of re-establishing Croydon as the retail destination of South London. The Mayor’s endorsement of our ambition to deliver a world-class retail and leisure destination, which will create over 5,000 jobs, has brought that vision another vital step closer to reality.”
Croydon Council leader Mike Fisher said: “We are determined to get the right result for the people of Croydon and the Mayor’s decision means a lot in taking these plans forward. We know that the Croydon Partnership scheme will reawaken the town centre and act as a spark in driving new jobs and new investment into the borough. The top level support for this scheme reflects the strategic importance of regenerating Croydon and the real benefits that will be created for residents throughout south London.”
Notes to editors
Westfield developments at Shepherds Bush and Stratford have had a transformational effect on those parts of the capital, creating thousands of jobs and attracting visitors from all over London and beyond.
Hammerson has an excellent track record, turning the Bull Ring development in Birmingham into one of the country’s leading retail destinations, while Brent Cross has been serving Londoners and the community for nearly 40 years.
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.
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