The plans represent an amalgam of previously competing schemes put forward by rival developers Westfield and Hammerson, now working together here as the Croydon Partnership.
The London Borough of Croydon’s strategic planning committee held a special meeting last night (25 November 2013) with a single item on its agenda – to consider the Croydon Partnership’s outline planning application to redevelop the Whitgift Centre. The committee approved the plans. Mayor of London Boris Johnson has also added his approval.
The scheme will provide one and a half million square feet of retail, leisure and restaurant facilities, together with new public realm, new car parking and up to 600 apartments in new tower blocks.
The planning approval is part of the Partnership’s wider vision to regenerate two million square feet of the town centre, including the adjacent Centrale shopping centre, which has planning consent for refurbishment.
The developers have agreed to pay £15m to the local tram network, £10m for the bus network, £2.5m for local highways, £1.625m for sustainable transport initiatives and £1.3m for local employment and training initiatives.
Detailed designs for the scheme will be unveiled during 2014 and a start on site is expected in 2015.
Westfield director of development John Burton said: “This is a significant step forward in our plans for the redevelopment of Croydon’s retail town centre and importantly will create 5,000 new local jobs. We believe that our proposed £1bn investment into the transformation of Croydon’s shopping and leisure offer has the potential to act as a major catalyst for the wider physical and social regeneration of the town. The support we received from the council this evening further strengthens that belief.”
Hammerson chief investment officer Peter Cole added: “Our scheme will re-establish Croydon as the retail destination of South London which will attract further investment and development. Our goal is to deliver a world-class retail and leisure destination to attract new visitors to the town and ensure Croydon regains its status as a thriving town centre. Tonight’s decision brings that vision one step closer to reality.”