Croydon Council has granted planning permission to the Croydon Partnership for the redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre, marking a significant step forward in Westfield and Hammerson’s plans to regenerate Croydon’s retail town centre. At a special meeting of the Strategic Planning Committee, dedicated entirely to the Croydon Partnership’s proposal on 25 November 2013, the application received support from the committee.

The Whitgift Foundation is the freehold owner of the Whitgift Shopping Centre. The funds required to support the Foundation’s charitable activities around Croydon, for the benefit of the local community, would not be sufficient without the income from its Croydon investment properties, including the Whitgift Centre.

The Croydon Partnership’s £1bn scheme will transform Croydon’s town centre into 1.5m ft² of state-of-the-art retail, leisure and restaurant destination, together with new public realm, new car parking and up to 600 new residential units including affordable housing. This will provide the kick start to Croydon’s much needed regeneration and will attract new residents and visitors back to the town centre for the benefit of all local businesses whilst delivering a safe destination for families.

The planning approval is part of the Partnership’s wider 2million ft² vision to regenerate the town centre, including the adjacent Centrale shopping centre, which has planning consent for a refurbishment programme.  The project will involve improvements to existing public areas adjacent to the development such as North End, Poplar Walk, Wellesley Road and George Street together with new road junctions to facilitate traffic flow at Wellesley Road and Park Lane. The scheme will also provide over £30million towards local transport improvements and employment and training benefits. The employment initiatives will be aimed at ensuring Croydon’s local population, and particularly its youth, are able to benefit from the new job opportunities the development will provide.

The key elements of the contributions are:

  • £15m for the tram network
  • £10m for the bus network
  • £2.5m for local highways
  • £1.625m for sustainable transport initiatives
  • £1.3m for employment and training initiatives

Following the Council’s resolution to grant outline planning consent, the application will now be considered by The Mayor of London. Detailed designs for the scheme will be unveiled during 2014 and a start on site is expected in 2015.

You can read the full news release here.