Sadiq Khan has praised the “exciting” regeneration of Croydon and the council’s leading role in it during his first visit to the borough since becoming the Mayor of London.
From the Fairfield Halls revamp to the growing TMRW tech hub and the forthcoming Boxpark restaurant and bar complex, Thursday’s tour was a chance for Mr Khan to see first-hand how several of the town centre’s major projects are regenerating the borough.
Mr Khan said he saw Croydon’s future as a centre for regeneration, culture, and technology, and told council leader Councillor Tony Newman he was impressed with the council’s leadership on driving forward growth across the whole borough.
The itinerary took in an overview of Croydon Council’s multi-million-pound plans for a new cultural quarter with a revamped Fairfield Halls, new Croydon College campus buildings and market-rate and affordable housing, plus an advance look at the Boxpark site before it opens later this year next to East Croydon station.
The tour ended with a visit to TMRW, the tech hub and café based in council-owned office building Davis House that was launched in May to encourage even more entrepreneurs to join over 1,000 technology start-ups already based in the borough.
As well as Councillor Newman, the Mayor was accompanied on his tour by several council cabinet members and senior officers, plus Boxpark Chief Executive Officer Roger Wade and Francois Mazoudier from TMRW.
He said: “I think Croydon is a hub for tech, for culture, for development, and it is one of the hidden gems of our great city, and I’m looking forward to Croydon flourishing and thriving.”
“Croydon is really going places, and it’s so encouraging the new Mayor shares our enthusiasm and drive to make this borough a destination of choice, whether you’re a business, resident or visitor.
“We’re particularly looking forward to working closely with the Mayor towards improving Croydon’s infrastructure, whether that’s transport links or providing more local affordable housing.”
Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council
The visit comes in the same week that a report by accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young showed Croydon has the UK’s fastest-growing economy, recording an annual business growth rate of 9.3%.
Earlier this year the council and the Greater London Authority announced that they had jointly secured Government permission to create a £350m Growth Zone fund to invest in Croydon’s infrastructure. A major new shopping mall will also be built in Croydon by Westfield / Hammerson as part of a £5bn regeneration scheme, and the council also plans to build 9,500 new affordable and market-rate homes by 2021.
In addition, major names have recently decided to move to offices in the borough, such as HM Revenue and Customs bringing thousands of jobs, EDF Energy, Superdrug and The Body Shop.