The council will ask Croydon residents, businesses, community groups and shoppers to share their vision for a vibrant and sustainable town centre to feed into a post-pandemic regeneration plan.
Cabinet agreed on Monday to run an engagement programme to ask the public for their views to help shape a Regeneration and Recovery Plan for Croydon town centre.
Covid-19 has had a big impact on retail nationwide, including people’s shopping habits shifting away from big traditional malls and department stores to a greater focus on places that are more sustainable, offer a unique experience to draw visitors and promote health and wellbeing.
A report discussed at cabinet confirmed the developers – Hammerson and Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield – recognise that the now expired 2018 regeneration plan is no longer “an appropriate or sustainable development”, but they remain committed to Croydon and to redeveloping and regenerating the Whitgift Centre.
In recognition that the town centre needs a fresh approach, the council’s engagement programme will encourage residents to share their ideas and aspirations. This will include innovative short-term uses for business units to encourage town centre visitors before and during redevelopment as well as the longer-term vision.
A new Croydon Urban Room will host the new engagement programme in a town centre empty shop unit to share information and activities to encourage all residents, businesses and visitors to get involved.
Alongside this the council will set up an advisory town centre board that will bring together key players including the council, business groups, landowners and other strategic partners to drive the regeneration efforts.
“From encouraging our night-time economy to successfully bidding for Croydon to be London’s Borough of Culture 2023, the council plays a big role in supporting our diverse and vibrant town centre.
“However, we also need the developers behind the town centre regeneration to quicken their own pace of progress on refining their plans. Given that people’s shopping habits have changed and the impact of the global pandemic, the developers need to come forward with a scheme that is right for Croydon and fit for the future.
“To make their revised plans a sustainable and inclusive success, they will need to be able to tap into the views of Croydon residents. That’s why we will engage with our diverse communities to inform how our town centre can evolve to become a vibrant and attractive destination of choice. We’re also setting up a new board so all the major partners and landowners in Croydon work more closely together on making the town centre redevelopment a reality.”
Councillor Oliver Lewis, cabinet member for culture and regeneration