Funding for our charitable activities is derived from our property portfolio in and around Croydon. As an organisation that has been a part of Croydon for more than 400 years, we are passionate that our town has a bright future and we continue to play a key role in its redevelopment and regeneration.
Amongst our properties in Croydon, we are the freehold owners of the Whitgift Shopping Centre located in the heart of Croydon’s town centre.
This area of land in between Wellesley Road and North End was once occupied by Whitgift Middle School (pictured) and in 1954 re-named Trinity School of John Whitgift. To make way for the development of the Whitgift Centre, allowing Croydon to become a major retail and economic hub for South London, the school moved to its present site at Shirley Park in 1965. Today, the Whitgift Centre is one of the largest shopping centres in the UK and the Foundation remains committed to the well-being of Croydon’s future.
In November 2011, Westfield and John Whitgift Foundation entered into exclusive arrangements to work together to explore the potential redevelopment of Croydon town centre. In February 2013, the Croydon Partnership was formed when Westfield entered into a joint venture with Hammerson Plc to combine Croydon’s two main shopping centres, the Whitgift Centre and Centrale, and deliver a comprehensive and transformational change to Croydon.
The scheme consists of 200,000 sq m including retail, leisure, residential with the potential for hotels and offices and will create over 5,000 new jobs.
Croydon Council granted planning permission to the Croydon Partnership for the redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre at a special meeting of the Strategic Planning Committee on 25 November 2013. Following this decision, The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, gave his approval to the plans. In September 2015, the Government confirmed the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) which will enable Croydon Council to use its powers to purchase land needed for the £1billion redevelopment of the Whitgift Shopping Centre.
On 1st November 2019, the Croydon Partnership and Croydon Council issued the following statement:
The Croydon Partnership and Croydon Council had a constructive meeting this week about the redevelopment of the town centre.
They discussed the progress on a revised scheme as part of the review to ensure the development meets the rapidly changing needs of consumers, retailers and the overall town centre. The proposals include a higher proportion of mixed-use including high-quality offices and co-working spaces, a hotel and homes alongside a compelling retail offer. Considerations also include fewer parking spaces, the possibility of retaining and reusing some key buildings and more open space, which aligns closely with the council’s and the partnership’s sustainability agendas. While the revised scheme is worked up in more detail, the partnership will continue to invest to improve the town centre and encourage new trade.
Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council: “This was a productive and encouraging meeting. The new proposals look impressive, improve Croydon’s existing offer and crucially, are more sustainable and fit for the future. I look forward to the partnership being able to share more information with Croydon residents in the future.”
A spokesperson for the Croydon Partnership said: “We were encouraged by the council’s response to our initial thinking and appreciate their constructive approach to bringing a scheme forward, proving the direction we are moving in is the right one for Croydon. There is still much work to do to finalise this proposal and ensure it meets the future needs of retailers, residents and consumers, in a climate of continued economic and retail uncertainty. We hope to be able to share more progress soon.”
John Whitgift Foundation wholeheartedly welcomes this statement released by Croydon Partnership and Croydon Council on the updated plans. We remain confident that the redevelopment will commence as soon as possible and will continue to provide updates on the timetable as soon as further details are available. Read more here: https://www.johnwhitgiftfoundation.org/foundation-confident-future-of-whitgift-centre/