The Croydon Partnership, the joint venture between Westfield and Hammerson, is pleased to announce that it has received resolution to grant outline planning consent from the London Borough of Croydon for its upgraded plans for the £1.4 bn redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre.
The consent represents a significant step forward for the Partnership’s plans to regenerate Croydon’s retail town centre and create one of the UK’s top 10 shopping and entertainment destinations by delivering over 1.5 m sq ft of retail and leisure floor space. The project will create up to 7,000 new jobs and continue to stimulate the ongoing wider regeneration of the town.
The masterplan maintains the design principles of the original 2014 consented scheme, with the enhanced plans including the addition of a third level of retail and restaurants, the incorporation of the Green Park House office site, which was acquired by the Croydon Partnership in February 2016; allows for better integration with West Croydon, improved public realm on Poplar Walk, as well as the delivery of a brand new flagship Marks & Spencer store. The plans also include a new covered 24/7 public walkway, the East-West Galleria, that will improve connectivity within the town centre and enhance safety and security on the site. 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.
The partnership is now working towards an earliest commencement of full construction on site in 2019, allowing the Whitgift Centre to continue trading through the important 2018 Christmas period. The decision paves the way for the Partnership to prepare detailed designs for the scheme, to conclude the CPO and the land assembly process and finalise legal agreements with prospective anchor retailers including M&S.
The plans to redevelop the Whitgift Centre are at the heart of the wider regeneration of Croydon, with £5.25bn of planned major investments seen in the form of new office and residential developments, as well as the Council’s town centre infrastructure improvement programme; all helping to attract new residents, businesses and visitors to the town centre.
The Croydon Partnership has been working with all stakeholders, including Croydon Council, GLA and TfL to co-ordinate with the 5-year town centre infrastructure programme. The redevelopment programme for the centre is aligned with this infrastructure schedule to minimise disruption during construction and ensure that Croydon is ready to accommodate the influx of new shoppers, workers and residents to the town.
The new plans increase the number of homes to be provided, with between 626 and 967 new homes being targeted. Following detailed discussions with both the Council and the GLA, it has been agreed that 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 new homes will be delivered in four or five residential buildings overlooking Wellesley Road. It is anticipated that the first buildings will be developed with the construction of the retail scheme, with the remainder being developed in phases thereafter.
The development will contribute over £30m to the provision of local infrastructure via the Community Infrastructure levy, together with around £7.5m for scheme specific measures including £2.5m to support employment and training initiatives to assist with providing jobs for local people.
John Burton, OBE 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. Retail-regeneration projects have a proven track record to deliver transformation and regeneration which is evidenced by the £5.25bn of inward investment planned 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, said: “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.”
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NOTES TO EDITORS
About Croydon Partnership’s plans for Croydon
The Croydon Partnership’s c£1.4bn scheme will transform Croydon’s town centre into a 1.5m sq ft state-of-the-art retail, leisure and restaurant destination, together with new public realm, creating up to 7,000 new jobs, new car parking and new residential units including affordable housing. This will consolidate and underpin Croydon’s much needed regeneration, attracting new residents and visitors back to the town centre for the benefit of all local businesses, whilst delivering a safe destination for families.
The Croydon Partnership can be followed on Twitter at @croydonpartners. You can also visit the website www.thecroydonpartnership.com
Summary of the new application
- 5m sq ft redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre
- Over 300 shops, restaurants and cafes
- A multi-screen cinema
- New public realm throughout the development as well as improved access and town centre permeability
- The provision of up to 967 new homes
- Over 3,000 car parking spaces
Summary of the public response to the consultation on the updated plans
- An estimated 4,500 people attended a four day consultation at the Whitgift Centre in May 2016
- Nearly 1,000 people provided feedback through a questionnaire
- Over 90% of respondents are either ‘very supportive’ or ‘supportive’ of the updated plans as a whole and the upgraded weather protected Galleria and 24 hour east-west route.
- 7% of total respondents believe that the redevelopment is ‘important’ or ‘very important’ in assisting with the wider regeneration of Croydon and further investment into the Growth Zone.
- 9% of respondents view the overall design of the revised proposals as ‘very appealing’ or ‘appealing’
- The top three facilities which respondents would most like to see introduced as part of the redevelopment are a second major department store; improved outdoor space; and a greater selection of high street shops
- 5% of respondents are ‘very supportive’ or ’supportive’ of moving the car parking entrance and goods vehicles access from Poplar Walk to Wellesley Road to improve access and integration with West Croydon
- 6% of respondents are ‘very supportive’ or ‘supportive’ of a brand new and larger store being developed for Marks & Spencer rather than the refurbishment of the existing one
- 3% of respondents are ‘very supportive’ or ’supportive’ of the potential for more homes as part of the development