Croydon’s time has surely has come following the recent announcement of plans to regenerate Croydon’s Whitgift and Centrale shopping centres. The anticipated bun fight between retail mammoth Westfield and developers Hammerson over control of the sites has been diffused with the news that the companies have joined forces to that will combine the Whitgift and Centrale and create a 200,000m² scheme with shops, leisure outlets and flats, and possibly offices and hotels. Subject to planning consent, building work is expected to start on site in 2015.
The news follows hot on the heels of the unveiling of a new strategic plan for Croydon which will use £23m from the Mayor’s Regeneration Fund to build homes and infrastructure in the area. Plans include provision of 7,300 homes, repairs to the high street, increased transport and parking capacity, improvements to key entrances to the town such as around West Croydon station, the creation of new public spaces and initiatives to attract business.
The Mayor Boris Johnson has said these developments will restore Croydon to ‘its former glory’. We’re not quite sure what glory that was exactly, but are glad to hear that things might be looking up for a town centre whose fame as a hot shopping centre has had more to do with retail outlets on fire than as a top shopping destination. Rebecca Taylor