This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 18/07/2017.
John Lewis has no plans to leave Croydon despite proposed redevelopment of Purley Way site
Retail giant John Lewis has reaffirmed its commitment to Croydon, after proposals were drawn up to demolish its store on Purley Way.
A presentation will be made at Croydon Council’s planning committee meeting this Thursday night which includes a plan to knock down the building which houses the John Lewis at Home store.
A two-stage development is being proposed for the site.
The first step would be to construct a new building to “accommodate a convenience goods store” and a warehouse alongside the existing John Lewis store.
The second stage of the project would involve knocking down the existing John Lewis at Home store, to erect a similar building and warehouse to the one planned in the first phase.
This would be bigger than the current unit John Lewis is based in and provide an additional 6,513 square metres of space.
The presentation is being made so the council’s planning committee members can view the plans at an early stage and offer feedback on them.
No decision to approve or reject the proposal will be taken on Thursday.
Speaking ahead of the presentation Peter Langly-Smith, the project manager at Reef Estates, who are behind the proposal, said: “There is not a lot we can say at the moment.
“We are just looking at the development options for the site which includes John Lewis. We are expecting to submit a planning application later this year.
“John Lewis have a lease on the shop until 2025, and then it is up to them to extend it.”
A summary of the presentation on the council’s website lists some of the expected hurdles that would need to be overcome.
It says: “It is accepted that the scheme is at pre-application stage and changes can obviously still be made to improve the acceptability of the scheme.
“However, a number of fundamental concerns exist, in terms of the principle of the development, its contribution towards creating a green walking and cycling link between the deculverted Wandle River route that finishes at the edge of the new South Quarter development, and the green link that begins again at Waddon Ponds.
“Additionally the extent of car parking is considered excessive and opportunities to mitigate the visual and safety impacts are not being taken. Better provision must also be made for the movement of pedestrians and cyclists through and around the site.”
The John Lewis at Home shop brought around 220 jobs to the borough when it opened in August 2010 – and the store focuses on selling furniture, furnishing accessories, homeware, electronic goods and home technology.
A spokeswoman for John Lewis offered only a brief response to the proposals but stated that the store remains committed to Croydon.
She said: “We are pleased to have a shop in Purley Way and have no plans to change it.”
There has long been speculation that John Lewis is the desired anchor tenant for the proposed Westfield super mall which is set to be built in Croydon town centre.
The shopping centre’s development has faced continued delays, however.