Whitgift Shopping Centre rebuild gets a step closer
11/04/2014 13:31:00......Posted by Steve Hollands
For most residents the Whitgift Centre in Croydon is where for the past 40 years we have shopped for our major purchases. However, Whitgift needs major investment to ensure that other centres in places like Bromley and Kingston do not overtake us and we then lose the investment and jobs created for Croydon residents.
We were very pleased that at Monday's Cabinet Meeting it was agreed that Croydon would go ahead with a CPO to ensure that Croydon's best chance of regeneration wasn't damaged. This is what the Council had to say in a press release earlier this week:
"COUNCIL MAKES CPO TO DRIVE FORWARD TOWN CENTRE REGENERATION
Croydon Council has resolved to make a compulsory purchase order (CPO) to bring together the land for the £1billion Westfield/Hammerson retail-led development, taking Croydon a step closer to major regeneration.
Following the publication of notices, the council will submit the CPO to the Secretary of State for confirmation later this month.
CPOs are often used by local authorities to assemble land for complex regeneration projects which are in the public interest particularly those which involve multiple land ownerships.
Cllr Mike Fisher, Leader of Croydon Council: said: “The Westfield/Hammerson development is hugely important for Croydon. It is the catalyst for our town’s regeneration, delivering thousands of new jobs, homes and fantastic retail and leisure facilities while attracting further investment.
“We know our residents and businesses are as eager as we are for this long-anticipated transformation of our town centre to get underway. As a council, one of the most important things we can do to ensure it progresses quickly is to help assemble the land. Tonight’s decision to make a CPO brings Croydon another step closer to regeneration and marks another milestone on this exciting journey.”
Cllr Jason Perry, cabinet member for planning transport and regeneration, said: “This is a really exciting time for Croydon. The Westfield Hammerson shopping centre is a major and complex development and we want to ensure it moves forward as quickly as possible. I’m pleased that the Croydon Partnership has already acquired some of the land for this development. They aim to reach agreements with the vast majority of other owners in the coming months.
“However, given the scale of this regeneration and the diversity and complexity of some of the land ownerships involved, it is unlikely that the developers will be able to reach agreement with all parties within a reasonable timeframe.
“Local authorities have these powers to ensure that regeneration projects like this – which will bring major social, economic and environmental benefits for everyone in Croydon –progress quickly for the good of the local community and the economy.”
Croydon Council’s planning committee voted unanimously for the Westfield/Hammerson (The Croydon Partnership) redevelopment at a special meeting of the strategic planning committee on 25 November 2013. The Mayor of London and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government have also approved the plans. The signing of the S106 agreement in January 2014 was the final stage in the planning process and planning consent was then issued for the scheme.
The £1bn development is a major regeneration project, including 300 shops, 400-600 homes, new restaurants, a multi-screen cinema and a bowling alley. It will also bring a substantial package of community benefits, including 5,000 new permanent jobs and thousands of temporary construction employment opportunities. Local people will be among the first to benefit, with recruitment for the new jobs carefully targeted towards Croydon residents, particularly those who are long term unemployed.
The S106 agreement also paves the way for significant investment into Croydon’s transport networks, with £29 million worth of improvements agreed. In addition to the immediate works associated with the development, this will include £2.5 million for local highways improvements, £10 million for additional bus services and £15 million for trams. A further £1.6m has been allocated for sustainable transport. Streets and public spaces in North End will benefit from a revamp with £2.1million spent on new lighting and other environmental improvements. £150,000 has been allocated for public art within the scheme, or a programme of performance art. "