Construction will soon begin on Croydon’s tallest building after being delayed due to funding and Covid-19.
The half a billion pound One Lansdowne Road project, which will start in April, includes a 70-storey tower and a 40-storey tower; it contains 794 flats, 35,000 square metres of office space, a swimming pool and gym, a bar, shops, a restaurant and a public viewing gallery.
The project was approved back in November 2017 by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.
In a statement, Chief Executive of Guildhouse-Rosepride, investors and developers based in Croydon, David Hudson said: “The Covid-19 situation has delayed any plans. Who knows what the market is going to be like? Particularly with regards to office space.
“It is very likely that we will reduce the office content. We will have to wait and see how the world settles down after Covid but I think there are bound to change. Employers are likely to reduce their requirements.”
The development was first planned a decade ago, in 2011, and is a part of the regeneration project in the south London borough.
Mark Waterstone, managing director at Guildhouse-Rosepride, said: “One Lansdowne Road will help encourage further investment in Croydon and support the wider regeneration plans for Wellesley Road and Croydon as a whole.”
The development caused mixed feelings from the locals in Croydon.
Esmé Flinders, a 22-year-old student from Croydon and member of the Facebook group Historic Croydon said: “I feel conflicted because I do quite like the appearance of the new duo blocks towering over East Croydon when I wait for trains, but it is just a pity because they have no social or local value at all.
“It would be great to have spaces for young people and the wider community integrated into a development like that, but I suppose that is not its style nor purpose. The flats are there to serve those seeking rental yield and an investment opportunity.”
“Clearly the flats are aimed at the elite London class rather than people that have grown up in Croydon with sentimental attachments.
Flinders added: “The flats are coming across as an investment opportunity for non-residents of Croydon and for the wealthy… It is not the appropriate type of housing to be built in these times where we see so many families in temporary accommodation.”
“But for a cash-strapped Council, perhaps developments like these are what can provide the right amount of council tax so that the council can have some sort of a budget to run its services, since central Government has cut local authority budgets to a minimum.”
Rowan Futter, a 24-year-old Police Constable and resident of Croydon, said: “It is nice to see investment in an area that could be regarded as a borough in London that is in much need of development.
“I can see the appeal from an economic viewpoint as there would be an increase in wealth in the area. I feel like the extra commodities will be a good addition to the community as it will give more people the chance to have a local shop and gym.”
He added: “However, it does tend to force some of the lower-income individuals out, for example, not being able to afford to live. I believe on the face of it, this will reduce the numbers of those in poverty as you will see wealthier individuals replacing.”
Futter also thinks that the start of the project may be a blessing in disguise for some.
“The length of time the development has been going on for will also give some people in the community a sense of relief as being as a neighbour to the development site can be a cause for a lot of stress. This stress over a decade would have had an impact on the individuals so it must be a relief even if they disagree with the construction in the first place.”