Foundation delighted as Whitgift Centre redevelopment gets go-ahead from Government.
The Whitgift Foundation welcomes the Government’s decision to confirm the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) which will enable Croydon Council to use its powers to purchase land needed for the £1billion redevelopment of the Whitgift Shopping Centre.
The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark, confirmed the CPO on Wednesday 16 September, following a six-week inquiry into the development, which was conducted earlier this year.
The Whitgift Centre redevelopment, a joint venture between Westfield and Hammerson, known as the Croydon Partnership, will see the existing Centre transformed into a state-of-the-art retail, leisure and restaurant destination bringing with it hundreds of new homes and thousands of jobs.
The Foundation, the freehold owner of the Whitgift Centre, has for a number of years been working with Westfield and latterly the Croydon Partnership, to bring about the much needed regeneration of Croydon’s town centre.
The funds required to support the Foundation’s charitable activities of education and care, including a £5million school fee support scheme, the largest of its kind in the UK, would not be sufficient without the rental income from the Whitgift Centre, its major Croydon investment property.
CPOs are used by local authorities to assemble land for complex regeneration projects which are in the public interest and involve multiple land ownerships.
A spokesperson for the Croydon Partnership commented: “We welcome the Secretary of State’s decision to confirm the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for the Whitgift Centre and surrounding land, enabling Croydon Council to use its powers to purchase the land and interests needed for the redevelopment. The decision is integral to the site assembly process that underpins Croydon Partnership’s proposals for the major retail regeneration of Croydon’s town centre and represents another important milestone towards delivering the scheme which will bring 5,000 new jobs to the area and help unlock Croydon’s enormous potential.
We will continue to work hard to reach agreement with those affected by the redevelopment and aim to achieve negotiated settlements with the vast majority of the owners and occupiers on the site over the coming months. The Council will lead the CPO process, in accordance with the legal framework that applies. Work on the scheme is progressing well, including the detailed design and negotiating with prospective retailers.”
Councillor Tony Newman, Leader of Croydon Council, said: “This is a day of celebration for Croydon residents and an important milestone for them. Today’s decision is a monumental step forward for Croydon, and a vitally important stage in our town’s transformation into a modern, European city. The redevelopment of the 1960s Whitgift Centre will reposition Croydon as the best place to shop, live and work in South London and the wider region in the 21st century. We are absolutely delighted with today’s decision, and that we can now move forward with the Westfield-Hammerson development.”
Martin Corney, Chief Executive, The Whitgift Foundation, said: “We whole-heartedly welcome the government’s decision to confirm the CPO to continue the unprecedented redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre which has already been the catalyst for a number of other exciting development projects across the town. As a 400 year old Croydon charity, we share both the Council’s and Croydon Partnership’s vision to transform Croydon into one of London’s most prosperous boroughs, as it once was, and look forward to working with them as the scheme progresses further.”