Croydon Town Centre

Meeting: 
MQT on 2019-03-21
Session date: 
March 21, 2019
Reference: 
2019/6411
Question By: 
Steve O'Connell
Organisation: 
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

What is your assessment of the delay to the redevelopment of Croydon Town Centre?

Answer

Croydon Town Centre

Croydon Town Centre

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Croydon’s town centre is an Opportunity Area in our Draft London Plan and has a key role to play in delivering good growth for Londoners due to its strategic location in the trams/Brighton Main Line corridor with important links to central London, Gatwick and beyond.

 

A key scheme for Croydon’s transformation is of course the Croydon Limited Partnership’s mixed‑use redevelopment of the Whitgift centre.  Good progress has been made since the outline planning consent was achieved in January 2018.  In September last year [2018] the compulsory purchase order process commenced, which is crucial for the land acquisition process for construction of the new development.  My understanding is that whilst a start onsite date has slipped from autumn 2019 and a new date is yet to be confirmed, the developers have said they remain committed to the scheme and still plan for it to open in late 2023.

 

Structural changes in retail and the uncertainty related to Brexit will undoubtedly have an effect on this project.  I also understand that the developers are currently refining the proposals to ensure that they are best equipped to deal with the challenges facing the retail sector.  Despite the setback, I remain optimistic about the regeneration of Croydon town centre.

 

In April last year [2018] the Croydon Growth Zone was initiated.  This will capture growth in local business rates for 16 years and help to fund the £500 million package of critical infrastructure required to deliver the wholesale renewal of the retail court.  At least 10,000 new homes of different tenures will be built and there will be 23,500 new long‑term jobs with a further 5,000 jobs created during the construction phase.  The GLA and TfL will continue to work closely with Croydon Council on the Growth Zone to ensure that the required infrastructure is delivered at the appropriate time ‑‑

 

Steve O’Connell AM:  All right.  Thank you, Mr Mayor.  Sorry, I am running out of time.

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I beg your pardon.  I am sorry.  I will write to you.

 

Steve O’Connell AM:  I accept that.  I have lived and breathed this for some years now.  However, your response, which I welcome, is somewhat of the sunny side.  It is not an overstatement to say that I believe the prosperity of Croydon and large swathes of south London is predicated on this successful scheme.  This is a cross‑party lobbying point and I have a Labour Croydon Council colleague here in the Chamber today.

 

However, there is major concerned about the slippage in this scheme.  This scheme is going to deliver something like 1,000 jobs towards your target, something like 15,000 construction jobs and something like 5,000 retail and office jobs.  There is real concern locally.

 

Mr Mayor, you did talk about earlier comparisons about pulling everyone together, having all the key players in one room and knocking heads together.  You used the COBRA example.  The previous incumbent here held meetings in this building when things were looking a bit tricky, frankly.  He called in the top people, be it the council, be it TfL, be it elsewhere, and said, “We need to move this on”.

 

Mr Mayor, in the context that there is a delay and a significant slippage, putting this at risk, will you call a meeting in this building and try to put on your mayoral pressure to get this project moving?

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Chairman, I am always happy to use my convening powers.  Can I, with your agreement, Chairman, speak to the Leader of the Council and Assembly Member O’Connell to see if there is a way we can help facilitate progress on this scheme?  It is so crucial to Croydon’s future.  I am more than happy to do that, Chairman.

 

Steve O’Connell AM:  I am pleased to hear that.  Thank you very much, Mr Mayor.