Allies and Morrison bags planning for £1bn Whitgift Centre overhaul
Allies and Morrison’s high-profile proposal for London’s third Westfield development has finally been given the green light by Croydon Council
The joint venture between developers Hammerson and Westfield was granted planning permission at a meeting on Monday evening (25 November).
Allies and Morrison’s designs will see Croydon’s existing Whitgift Centre shopping mall replaced with 130,000m² of retail space, leisure facilities and up to 600 apartments.
The project also includes new public realm and car parking and is expected to ‘kickstart Croydon’s much needed regeneration’ (see AJ 14.02.13).
The scheme, which design watchdog CABE said needed ‘further consideration in how it related to the wider neighbourhood and adjacent streets’ (read full report here), will see most of the existing Whitgift Centre demolished and rebuilt, with the facades of some buildings on George Street and Allders retained.
The redevelopment scheme is the largest regeneration proposal for the riot-hit Croydon area since Will Alsop unveiled proposals to transform the area six years ago.
Leader of Croydon Council Mike Fisher, said: ‘The resolution to approve Westfield and Hammerson’s planning application is a very important day for Croydon. We are committed to ensuring that the town’s regeneration projects provide a lasting positive impact for Croydon and future generations.’
John Burton, director of development at Westfield, commented: ‘This is a significant step forward in our plans for the redevelopment of Croydon’s retail town centre and importantly will create 5,000 new local jobs. We believe that our proposed £1bn investment into the transformation of Croydon’s shopping and leisure offer has the potential to act as a major catalyst for the wider physical and social regeneration of the town. The support we received from the Council tonight further strengthens that belief.’
Chief investment officer of Hammerson Peter Cole, added: ‘Our scheme will re-establish Croydon as the retail destination of South London which will attract further investment and development. Our goal is to deliver a world-class retail and leisure destination to attract new visitors to the town and ensure Croydon regains its status as a thriving town centre.’
The planning application will now go before the Mayor of London and communities secretary Eric Pickles, before it is officially given the go-ahead.
Construction is expected to start on site in 2015, with the project expected to complete in 2017.