This post was first published by My London on 17/07/2019.
Taking over Croydon Village Outlet was the final step to clear the way for Westfield says council
Croydon Council has confirmed that Croydon Village Outlet was the last obstacle to be overcome in securing land for the proposed Westfield development.
The former Allders store was suddenly taken over by the council on Tuesday morning (July 16), though the Croydon Partnership of Westfield and Hammerson still say the project is “under review”.
Now surveys are taking place inside the building and concession owners do not know when they will be able to move back in.
Croydon Council revealed that Tuesday’s possession of the outlet completes the compulsory purchase order (CPO) process that was approved by the council in 2014.
But concession-holders at the centre said they arrived at work and found the locks had been changed and had been given no notice of the takeover.
Many fear they will not now be able to continue trading.
The council said it had to take over in the way it did because negotiations with former owners Optima Media International had broken down.
As well as the Whitgift Centre, the CPO order covers surrounding land bounded by and including parts of Poplar Walk, Wellesley Road, George Street and North End.
It also includes a ‘stopping up order’ of Dingwall Avenue from the footway along Wellesley Road westwards for a distance of 117 metres.
This closes the road completely so that development can take place.
A spokesman for the council confirmed that it is not known when Croydon Outlet Village will reopen.
He said: “As the statutory surveys are ongoing there is no firm date for when it will reopen, but we are in contact with those trading, and supporting them where we can.
“Yesterday’s possession completes the CPO process. The timeline remains the same and all parties are committed to the redevelopment.”
A spokesman for the Croydon Partnership, the joint venture between Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield and Hammerson in charge of the redevelopment, said this is an important step for the project.
“The Council taking possession of the building is an important part of the CPO process which is integral for the scheme to progress,” said the spokesman.
“As previously reported, we are currently reviewing our proposals to ensure they respond to changing retailer requirements and that the scheme is appropriate for the future.
“As a result of the new ownership, we have only just received full access to the building and are now carrying out all the necessary surveys.
“We will provide a further update on completion and review of the survey results.”
The partnership is giving retailers in the Croydon Village Outlet the option to move into space in the Whitgift Centre.
Originally The Croydon Partnership expected the CPO process to be finished by September 2018 with work expected to start this September (2019).
But now that Westfield is reviewing the scheme, to include more leisure options and less retail, work is on hold with no confirmation of how long the review will take.
Last week a Partnership spokesman said the the partners are committed to the project and to opening a shopping centre in Croydon .
Most of the land taken over belonged to the Whitgift Foundation.
Other buildings in the CPO area include
Whitgift Centre – was formerly owned by Whitgift Foundation
WhSmith, 32 North End – Whitgift Foundation
104 North End – Chasetone Properties Investments
Marks and Spencer, North End – Marks and Spencer
Green Park House, Poplar Walk – Whitgift Foundation
London House (offices), Dingwall Avenue – Croydon Plaza Limited
Focus House (offices) Dingwall Avenue – Park Place Limited Partnership