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Westfield want to make Croydon the ‘capital of south London’ with even bigger development

Westfield want to make Croydon the ‘capital of south London’ with even bigger development
May 14, 2016 Shaking Hands 0 comments
This post was originally published by The Croydon Advertiser on 02/05/2016

Westfield want to make Croydon the ‘capital of south London’ with even bigger development

WESTFIELD wants to make Croydon the “capital of south London” it was revealed as it presented updated plans for the £1.4 billion regeneration of the town centre to the council last night.

It was revealed last week the scheme will be even bigger than first thought including a brand new Marks & Spencer as well as an IMAX cinema and 200 extra homes.

Speaking to Croydon Council’s planning committee John Burton, head of development at Westfield, said: “The vision of creating Croydon as the capital of south London is still foremost in our minds.”

John Burton from Westfield

Last week the Advertiser reported the three-story development will encompass almost all of the land between Poplar Walk to the north and George Street after Westfield/Hammerson secured Green House on the corner of Poplar Walk.

The partnership between the two companies now intend to create a public square in Poplar Walk with cafes, bars and shops to replace its current use as predominantly a service road.

It is also hoped there will be roof terraces for restaurants and bars, while Wellesley Road will become a “European boulevard” in the new scheme, Mr Burton said. However, there is not yet a long term plan in place for the redevelopment of Centrale, where many businesses will be moved while the new centre is built.

An aerial shot of how the scheme might look

While councillors were not fazed by the proposed heights, about 30 to 40 stories, they expressed concern the towers could create a wall if too close together and look ugly behind the Almshouses.

Paul Scott, planning committee chair, told Mr Burton he wanted the blocks to have a “fresh design”.

“Definitely don’t feel you need to copy the Croydon vernacular,” he said, while Croham councillor Jason Perry added: “The Croydon vernacular is forbidden.”

Mr Burton said Westfield would avoid a “cookie cutter” approach to the blocks.

An artist’s impression of an entrance to the centre

The IMAX cinema is likely to sit behind the towers in the centre of the scheme so it doesn’t affect the skyline, Mr Burton said.

Pedestrian routes through the site will link North End and Wellesley Road, and Poplar Walk and George Street.

The link between North End and George Street was going to be open with a roof. Under new plans it will be encased in glass walls with doors – but still open 24 hours a day.

Councillors were agreed in their disapproval of this change and asked Mr Burton to make the route more open again.

“There’s a screening almost as if the centre is closing itself off and looking more inwards, and it would be a shame if that went forward,” Cllr Perry said.

It was confirmed last night ‘Croydon’ will feature in the scheme’s name

The development will include 3,150 parking spaces instead of the 3,500 originally planned, all expected to be on the roof of the centre. The number of spaces for residents, on top of the required disabled parking, needs to be discussed with officers.

He added that some of Westfield’s other schemes have included 3,000 flats with “not a single parking space” other than disabled spaces because “the demand isn’t there”.

The amount of affordable housing has yet to be decided, but Cllr Scott urged Westfield bosse “let’s not be squeaking in at 15.1 per cent” – the minimum required of new developments.

Councillors were also concerned there may not be enough green space for children who may live in the flats, and Mr Burton said amenity space for residents is something the scheme hopes to provideFour residential blocks of up to 1,000 homes will sit on the Wellesley Road side of the development.