Westfield Croydon plans crumble

Local authority plans to regenerate Croydon have been shattered as Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield & Hammerson walk away from the Whitgift centre.
The Croydon Partnership was struck in 2013.
//  Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield and Hammerson walk away from the Croydon Partnership
// The partnership said the ongoing Covid-19 crisis had exacerbated existing issues

After Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield and Hammerson stepped away from the Centrale & Whitgift Centre, the local authority’s ambitions to revitalise Croydon have been thrown into disarray.

The Croydon Partnership, a joint venture struck in 2013 by institutional landlord giants Westfield and Hammerson, has walked away from the £1.4 billion planned regeneration of the Centrale & Whitgift Centre after the best part of a decade’s planning.

The partnership said in a statement that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has only worsened existing problems with the site and shopping in general.

READ MORE: Hammerson to transform empty retail space into hotels, offices & homes

The two landlords, on the other hand, stated that they would continue to cooperate with Croydon council on fresh ideas to regenerate the town centre.

“The retail industry was already facing major challenges which have been impacted further over the past 18 months, requiring a new approach to the regeneration of Croydon.

Partnership spokeswoman Simone Cochrane said: “We look forward to working with the council to create the Regeneration and Recovery Action Plan, which will define a new vision for the town centre that responds to the changes brought about by the pandemic and embraces the needs of the local community.”

“Collaboration is a key part of this process and so we will ensure that local people and businesses are invited to contribute their ideas to shape the creation of a reimagined town centre.

“In the short term, the Partnership will continue to focus on Centrale & Whitgift to ensure a safe and welcoming environment for our customers, retailers and employees, with a diverse programme of immersive events and pop-ups to enhance the town centre experience.”

On Monday, a Croydon council study stated that Croydon Westfield was no longer a “appropriate or sustainable development,” effectively putting the idea to rest.

The announcement comes after Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield and Hammerson announced a review of the planned scheme in 2019, with the intention of reducing the number of shops on the scheme and replacing them with office space and a hotel.

Originally, Westfield Croydon was supposed to be a 200,000 sq ft mixed-use retail centre that would have brought 5,000 new jobs to Croydon.

Despite this, the scheme has been plagued by delays throughout its life, and the council analysis suggests that its cancellation may be a blessing in disguise for the area.

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