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Croydon Council to demand answers from Westfield on when shopping centre will be built

Croydon Council to demand answers from Westfield on when shopping centre will be built
Oct 31, 2019 Shaking Hands 0 comments

This post was first published by My London on 30/10/2019.

Croydon Council will be pushing Westfield ‘very hard’ make an announcement about how the £1.4 billion pound scheme is progressing.

It has been eight months since it was announced that the shopping centre is being reviewed – reducing the amount of retail and increase leisure options like cinemas and restaurants.

But tomorrow (Thursday, October 31) Croydon councillors are set to meet with Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield and Hammerson who are behind the plans.

On Tuesday (October 29) Councillor Paul Scott assured a meeting of the council’s overview and scrutiny commission that discussions with the international company have been going on in the background.

And changes to the plans could include keeping some existing buildings and including more office space.

Cllr Scott, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “It is reasonable to say that the Westfield team are looking at how they can change the scheme given that we have a rapidly changing environment.

“A lot of discussions are happening about how the scheme can evolve and change.

“Ideas are being looked at about how they can maintain some of the existing buildings but it is early days. We also understand that they are looking at potential for new office space as part of the mix.

“We will be pushing them very hard to make public announcements about where they want to get to and how much time that will take.”

Back in February the Croydon Partnership, the joint venture between Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield and Hammerson blamed the delay on Brexit for causing challenges in the UK retail market.

Work was originally supposed to have already started but now it will not start until at least 2020.

And while uncertainty has surrounded the project, businesses left in the Whitgift Centre which is set to be demolished for the new shopping centre has been struggling.

Many shops have ended up closing and the shopping centre is becoming more and more run down.

Cllr Scott said that there will be ‘greater meanwhile investment’ in the existing centre.

He added: “Our shopping facilities are looking rather tired there is confusion about what is actually happening. Some stores aren’t investing because they don’t know how much time they’ve got.

“It may not be in its heyday but it still attracts shoppers. It is not quite the destination it was and it is not the destination it will be.”

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