A new Westfield shopping centre is to be built in Croydon town centre, after councillors unanimously voted to approve the £1.4bn project on Tuesday evening.
The mall is the centrepiece of a “monumental” scheme to regenerate the Whitgift shopping centre which developers claim will bring 7,000 jobs and up to 1,000 new homes to the area.
The centre will feature a new flagship Marks and Spencer store, 300 shops, restaurants, cafes and leisure facilities including a multi-screen cinema and bowling alley.
Four or five residential tower blocks will also be built on the site. As part of the deal negotiated between Croydon Council, the Croydon Partnership and the Greater London Authority, at least 20 per cent of the 1,000 new houses will be designated affordable housing.
Croydon Council leader Tony Newman said he was “delighted” by the decision, and confirmed work would begin on the site in 2019. He added: “This is fantastic news for Croydon. The new homes and the thousands of jobs this development will bring shows investors are rightly confident about Croydon as a place to live, work and spend free time.
“I’m pleased we have reached this major milestone in the delivery of a world class retail and leisure facility and it’s another step to reinforcing Croydon’s growing reputation as one of London’s top destinations.”
The new retail and leisure facility comes at a time of significant redevelopment in Croydon town centre which includes the £30 million refurbishment of Fairfield Halls.
Croydon MPs Sarah Jones, Steve Reed and Chris Philp all supported the proposals. Hailing the decision, Jones tweeted: “Croydon is one of the most exciting places to live in London right now – with Boxpark, the Fairfield halls development, street art, huge musical talent and Tech City. The one piece of the jigsaw that we have all been working towards is for the town centre to become the vibrant heart of Croydon once again. I know my constituents will be delighted with tonight’s news.
“We have the largest young population in London and this will create thousands of job opportunities, setting our young people up for a bright future. Croydon has waited years for your new town centres it’s important we now get to work as soon as possible.”
The council received 15 objections to the development. Sean Creighton, a local resident, gave evidence against the application. He said: “The demolition and construction process will take the heart out of the town centre.”
The Mayor for London Sadiq Khan will now scrutinise the proposals, the final step in the application process.