The Croydon Partnership, the joint venture between Westfield and Hammerson, has submitted an enhanced outline planning application to Croydon Council for its upgraded plans for the £1.4 billion regeneration of the Whitgift shopping centre.
The development is set to transform Croydon’s retail centre to create one of the UK’s top 10 shopping and entertainment destinations alongside delivering 5,000 new jobs whilst continuing to act as the catalyst for the ongoing wider regeneration of the town.
The enhanced plans continue to deliver over 1.5m sq ft of retail and leisure floor space, adopting the key masterplan and design principles from the original consented scheme, with the addition of a third storey of retail and restaurants, and a brand new Marks & Spencer store. The plans also incorporate improved connectivity, including a covered 24/7 public walkway, the East-West Galleria, as well as provision for up to 1,000 new homes.
The submission follows extensive public consultation with the local community, where the updated plans were overwhelmingly well-received by local businesses and residents, with over 90% of respondents being ‘supportive’ or ‘very supportive’ of the new updated regeneration plans.
A decision on the planning application is expected in early 2017. The Partnership will continue to progress and seek approval for the additional detailed designs for the scheme and continue retailer discussions. This will then allow initial enabling works including some demolition of non-retail elements and moving retailers from Whitgift into Centrale and associated works for the retailer relocations.
Subject to having detailed planning permission, the required consents in place and achieving pre-letting targets, main construction would commence in 2018, allowing the existing Whitgift retailers to continue trading through the busy 2017 Christmas period. Centrale and the rest of the town centre will remain open for business during the construction period.
The Croydon Partnership has been working with all stakeholders, including Croydon Council, GLA and TfL to co-ordinate with the 5-year town centre infrastructure programme scheduled for delivery from 2017 to 2021. The 3.5 year construction programme for the centre is aligned to fit in with this to minimise disruption during construction and ensure that Croydon is ready to accommodate the influx of shoppers, workers and new residents to the town.
John Burton, Westfield’s Head of Development, said: “The submission of the planning application is an important milestone for the development with the new enhancements primarily driven by retailers’ demand for space in Croydon. The opening of the new centre will propel Croydon into one of the top retail, dining and leisure destinations in London and will deliver significant economic and social regeneration.”
Peter Cole, Hammerson’s Chief Investment Officer, said: “Since securing the original consent we have seen an encouraging level of retail demand with Marks & Spencer requiring a new flagship store which has driven the design evolution. Following a successful resolution of the outline application, we will be advancing the detailed scheme designs, while continuing discussions with retailers ahead of undertaking enabling works.”
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NOTES TO EDITORS
Further details about the four main enhancements to the scheme within the new application are as follows:
1) Three-levels of retail and leisure
The addition of a new storey allows for a wider range of exciting new retail brands, improved leisure facilities and enhanced open space.
2) A brand new Marks & Spencer store
Since the beginning of the year, the Croydon Partnership has been working with Marks & Spencer on plans to include a brand new purpose built store within the three-level scheme on the site of Green Park House which was acquired by the Croydon Partnership last year. The new relocated flagship store, which replaces the previous plans for a refurbishment of Marks & Spencer’s existing building, will showcase a wide range of clothing, homeware and food in a new modern retail environment.
3) Improved access and environment
The inclusion of the Green Park House site also provides additional land that allows for improved outside public areas at North End and Poplar Walk and better integration with West Croydon and St Michael’s Church. These benefits will be further enhanced by the creation of a single new Wellesley Road car park which takes car and service vehicle access away from Poplar Walk to entrances on Wellesley Road.
Also incorporated is an enhanced direct connection between Wellesley Road and North End through the heart of the scheme, with a 24 hour East-West Galleria, providing a weather-protected, safe environment and a focal point for leisure, cafes and restaurants.
4) New homes
Reflecting Croydon’s recent resurgence as an increasingly appealing place to live, the Croydon Partnership is also exploring the possibility of increasing the number of homes and is therefore applying for up to 1,000 residential units to be included in the scheme. These will be delivered across five residential buildings overlooking Wellesley Road.
About Croydon Partnership’s plans for Croydon
The Croydon Partnership’s c£1.4bn scheme will transform Croydon’s town centre into a 1.5m ft² state-of-the-art retail, leisure and restaurant destination, together with new public realm, creating 5,000 new jobs, new car parking and new residential units including affordable housing. This will consolidate and underpin Croydon’s much needed regeneration, attracting new residents and visitors back to the town centre for the benefit of all local businesses, whilst delivering a safe destination for families.
The Croydon Partnership can be followed on Twitter at @croydonpartners. You can also visit the website www.thecroydonpartnership.com
Summary of the new application
Summary of the public response to the consultation on the updated plans