Green light for £1.4bn Croydon town centre scheme

Westfield and Hammerson’s revised £1.4bn scheme in Croydon town centre has received unanimous planning approval from Croydon council.

The joint venture, called The Croydon Partnership, submitted the revised outline planning application in October 2016.

Like the initial application, which was submitted in 2014, the revised scheme included 1.5m sq ft of retail and leisure floor space. However, it also made provisions for a third storey of retail and restaurants, and a brand new Marks & Spencer store.

It also incorporated the Green Park House office site, which was acquired by the Croydon Partnership in February 2016, and allows for better integration with West Croydon and improved public realm on Poplar Walk.

The newly approved plans include an increased housing provision of up to nearly 1,000 new homes adjoining the redeveloped centre, including a higher percentage of affordable housing. Following discussions with both the council and the Greater London Authority, the proportion of affordable housing will be increased from 15% to a minimum of 20%.  This means the delivery of between 125 and 193 affordable homes compared to between 60 and 120 for the previously consented scheme. 

The partnership plans to start on site in 2019 at the earliest. Following the approval, it will now prepare detailed designs for the scheme, conclude the compulsory purchase order and the land assembly process and finalise legal agreements with prospective anchor retailers including M&S.

Future ‘top 10 retail destination’

John Burton, Westfield UK/Europe’s head of development, said: “The approval of the £1.4bn plans to redevelop the Whitgift Centre represents a significant milestone for the project and for Croydon. The positive response from London Borough of Croydon provides confidence to retailers, investors and the community, enabling the Croydon Partnership to create South London’s best retail, dining and leisure destination and deliver new homes and 7,000 jobs.”

Peter Cole, Hammerson’s chief investment officer, added: “Our goal remains to deliver a world-class retail and leisure destination to attract new visitors to Croydon and enhance economic growth in the town. We are pleased with the level of retail demand which has driven the evolution of the design and layout of the new scheme, and we look forward to progressing our plans and transforming Croydon into one of the UK’s top 10 retail and leisure destinations.”

Speaking about the approval, minister for London Greg Hands said: “This major redevelopment of the Whitgift site will bring huge benefits to Croydon and London with thousands of new homes and jobs.

“As Minister for Trade it is also yet another example of London and the UK’s appeal to international investors, bringing much-needed regeneration projects to life. Croydon will join locations across the world, from San Francisco to Sydney, with a flagship Westfield site, once again proving London’s enduring strength as a leading global retail destination.”

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