Construction on the £1.4 billion redevelopment proposal for the Whitgift Shopping Centre by the Croydon Partnership – the joint venture between Westfield and Hammerson – was unanimously given the green light by members of the council’s planning committee. The project will begin in 2019 bringing with it up to 7,000 new jobs for local people and 1,000 new homes.
As well as thousands of construction jobs, the mixed use scheme will bring with it thousands of other roles in over 300 shops, restaurants, cafés and leisure facilities including a multi-screen cinema and bowling alley.
The partnership’s plans were first granted planning permission in February 2014, but last October an enhanced outline planning application was submitted featuring some key revisions, including more housing, a third level of retail and leisure and a new Marks and Spencer store.
Croydon has been working with the Croydon Partnership, the Greater London Authority (GLA), and Greg Hands MP, the Minister for London, to try to expedite the scheme.
The new retail and leisure facility comes at a time of significant redevelopment in Croydon town centre which includes the £30m refurbishment of Fairfield Halls.
Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council, said: “This is fantastic news for Croydon and we have been doing everything we can to bring the redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre to fruition so local people can benefit from its wealth of offerings, including the creation of 7,000 new jobs.
John Burton OBE, Westfield UK/ Europe’s head of development, added: “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 the 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.”
Greg Hands MP, Minister for London, said: “I am delighted that after convening two meetings of all concerned parties, here at the Department for International Trade, we will now see construction taking place. This major redevelopment of the Whitgift site will bring huge benefits to Croydon and London with thousands of new homes and jobs.
“This is a great example of local and central government working together with private investors and it shows once again London’s enduring appeal for international investment. As Minister for London I’m delighted to be supporting the project, and seeing it secure planning approval.”