Westfield and Hammerson planning application to be determined by Croydon Council on 25th November
I’ve just been told that Croydon Council’s Strategic Planning Committee will determine Westfield and Hammerson’s planning application to redevelop the Whitgift Centre on 25th November.
When the news was first announced that these two retail giants jointly wanted to invest over £1billion in our town, I said that it was the best news that we’ve had for a very long time. If we’re being honest with ourselves, the town centre has been in relative decline for many years. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to turn its fortunes around. It won’t just give us a new shopping centre with some of the top national brand names that we don’t currently have in the town; it will also act as a catalyst to encourage business to relocate here and other developers to bring forward schemes.
When Westfield and Hammerson announced their intention to invest here back in January, a lot of people were sceptical. I don’t blame them, I’ve lost count of the number of exciting plans I’ve heard about during my time in Croydon politics. But these are two of the leading retail developers in the country and the fixing of the date for their planning application to be determined is further evidence that this time it’s for real. It’s the culmination of a lot of detailed work that’s been going on behind the scenes over the last 10 months, in which I’ve been heavily involved.
There is still a long way to go. If the scheme is given planning permission, as I hope, there may then need to be a Compulsory Purchase Order and then it’ll take several years to build. But we can have increasing confidence that the long term decline of our borough is now being reversed.
If you want to hear more about exactly what Westfield and Hammerson are planning – and some of the other exciting schemes planned for our town centre - come along to my public meeting at 8pm on 20th November in the Community Space, Bernard Weatherill House, Mint Walk.