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Boris gives final backing for Allies and Morrison’s Westfield

London Mayor Boris Johnson has approved London’s third Westfield development

The plans by Allies and Morrison, which had been granted planning permission by Croydon Council on Monday (25 November), have now been given the go-ahead from the Mayor.

Johnson said: ‘This development will usher in a new era of prosperity for Croydon and help return it to its former glory.

‘Hammerson has an excellent track record and the recent Westfield developments in London created thousands of jobs and attracted millions of visitors, giving others the confidence to invest.

‘I am in no doubt that this new development will have a similar positive impact in Croydon and breathe new life and vitality into the town. There is no doubt that Croydon can once again become one of London’s most vibrant town centres and a major driver of our economy and this development will bring that aspiration one step closer to reality.

The Whitgift site sits within the Croydon Opportunity Area – one of 33 areas Johnson has designated for development of new housing and commercial schemes.

Back in 2011, the Mayor committed to invest £23 million towards the regeneration of Croydon following the summer riots.

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 scheme will see most of the existing Whitgift Centre demolished and rebuilt, with the facades of some buildings on George Street and Allders retained.

John Burton, director of development at Westfield, said: ‘Mayor Boris Johnson’s endorsement of Croydon Council’s decision to grant outline planning consent for our proposals to bring over £1bn of economic and social opportunity to Croydon marks the completion of yet another major milestone towards the delivery of this project. The Mayor’s commitment to the scheme also underlines the weight of political support there is for this once in a lifetime opportunity, which is fantastic news for the people of Croydon and invaluable to our ability to get the project moving.’

Peter Cole, chief investment officer of Hammerson, commented: ‘We very much welcome the Mayor’s decision to approve our outline application and look forward to working with him and the council to deliver their vision of re-establishing Croydon as the retail destination of South London. The Mayor’s endorsement of our ambition to deliver a world-class retail and leisure destination, which will create over 5,000 jobs, has brought that vision another vital step closer to reality.’

Croydon Council leader Mike Fisher said: ‘We are determined to get the right result for the people of Croydon and the Mayor’s decision means a lot in taking these plans forward. We know that the Croydon Partnership scheme will reawaken the town centre and act as a spark in driving new jobs and new investment into the borough. The top level support for this scheme reflects the strategic importance of regenerating Croydon and the real benefits that will be created for residents throughout south London.’

The application will now be submitted to the Secretary of State for final approval.

Construction is expected to start on site in 2015, with the project expected to complete in 2017.

Previous story (27.11.13)

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.

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