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Khan approves Hawkins\Brown's controversial Croydon scheme

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Sadiq Khan has approved Hawkins\Brown’s masterplan for a chunk of Croydon town centre – despite it only guaranteeing that 20 per cent of its housing will be affordable

The London mayor gave the green light to the redevelopment of the Whitgift shopping centre by the Croydon Partnership – a joint venture of developers Westfield and Hammerson.

This will see 967 homes built as well as more than 500,000m2 of shops and restaurants in a new Westfield shopping centre, and space for student accommodation or a hotel.

The AJ reported in November that the Greater London Authority had originally told Croydon Council – ahead of it approving the scheme – that the applicant’s approach to viability was ‘unacceptable’.

And Liberal Democrat London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon today bemoaned the decision to approve the scheme with just a fifth of homes promised to be affordable.

‘There is a huge chasm between Sadiq Khan’s election promises and his record in power at City Hall,’ she said.

‘For years, mayors of London have talked the talk but don’t walk the walk, with many final planning decisions leaving Londoners disappointed with the level of affordable homes being built. Sadly it seems Sadiq Khan is happy to follow this trend.’

The mayor’s office insisted the affordable housing viability statement had been thoroughly scrutinised by City Hall’s team of experts, who had concluded this was the maximum amount that could be delivered under current assumptions while ensuring the project remained financially viable.

It is understood that three reviews have been insisted upon to ensure any improvements in viability over time contribute to increased delivery of affordable housing.

The Croydon Partnership said in a statement: ’Following agreement with both the council and the GLA the proportion of affordable housing has been increased from 15 per cent to at least 20 per cent, which is subject to reviews in accordance with the mayor of London’s planning guidance.’

Khan, said: ‘Today marks a crucial step forward in the regeneration of Croydon town centre.

‘This development will play a key role in unlocking the borough’s potential and is set to deliver huge economic benefits to residents and businesses in the borough.

‘As well as the creation of 7,000 jobs and the delivery of almost 1,000 new homes, it will also attract many visitors to its brand-new leisure facilities and public spaces. I’m confident the benefits of this scheme will be felt for generations to come.’

Croydon Council deputy leader and cabinet member for homes, regeneration and planning Alison Butler said: ‘The redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre will transform Croydon town centre and today’s green light brings us a step closer to the works getting underway.’

Hawkins\Brown was appointed in 2016 to rework an original application from Allies and Morrison that was granted permission in 2014.

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