The council has hailed the decision to confirm the compulsory purchase order (CPO) to bring together land for the more than £1billion Westfield/Hammerson development as a historic moment for Croydon residents and a massive step forward in the regeneration of the borough.
The Westfield/Hammerson scheme will see the existing Whitgift shopping centre transformed into a state-of-the-art retail, leisure and restaurant destination alongside hundreds of new homes, including affordable housing, which will deliver huge benefits for Croydon residents.
It is expected to create around 5,000 new jobs, which together with construction jobs will provide significant employment for local people.
The Whitgift redevelopment is part of a larger £5.25bn regeneration programme in Croydon, which aims to deliver 23,500 new jobs and 8,500 homes in the town centre by 2031 – a delivery programme the size of Ebbsfleet in Kent, but in half the time.
The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark, today issued his decision to confirm the CPO following the recommendation of his Inspector, Paul Griffiths, who led the six-week inquiry in February and March of this year.
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.
The Inspector has also issued his report to the council recommending that a stopping up order (SUO) be made for Dingwall Avenue. The council will now consider the Inspector’s report in light of the remaining objections.
The aim of the SUO is to close Dingwall Avenue as a public right of way so that it can be redeveloped as a welcoming and attractive entrance to a new anchor store. As an area of high quality public realm, this will match the aspirations the council has for the regeneration of the metropolitan centre.
The Minister’s decision is a major milestone for the Westfield/Hammerson scheme which is the catalyst for Croydon’s regeneration. The Croydon Partnership, the joint venture between Westfield and Hammerson, together with Croydon Council will continue to work over the coming months with all relevant parties to maintain the momentum for the scheme.
With all major regeneration projects, there are many work streams and milestones to be achieved. Today’s decision gives certainty that all of the land and rights needed for the scheme can be acquired in due course.
This underpins the next stages of the project and work by the Croydon Partnership to secure all other agreements and consents that are required.
During this next phase, the council will work with all stakeholders involved with the day to day running of the town to ensure that Croydon remains an attractive destination with a vibrant retail offer
“This is a day of celebration for Croydon residents and an important milestone for them. Today’s decision is a monumental step forward for Croydon, and a vitally important stage in our town’s transformation into a modern, European city.
“The redevelopment of the 1960s Whitgift Centre will reposition Croydon as the best place to shop, live and work in South London and the wider region in the 21st century.
“As well as a premier retail destination, this will deliver thousands of new jobs for our residents and new affordable homes.
“We are absolutely delighted with today’s decision, and that we can now move forward with the Westfield-Hammerson development.”
Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council
For more information about the CPO & SUO visit https://www.croydon.gov.uk/planningandregeneration/regeneration/westfield-hammerson