This post was first published by My London on 28/10/2019.
The pub chain has also dismissed claims one of Croydon’s most notable pubs could close
J D Wetherspoon has admitted it is “extremely annoyed” about the time it is taking for the Westfield Hammerson shopping centre to be built in Croydon .
The pub chain, which operates seven pubs in Croydon, is unhappy about the lack of progress made in building the £1.4 billion shopping centre, which will completely transform the town centre.
It is understood the company’s frustrations have increased this year, even more so after it was announced in February that the scheme is being reviewed.
The company has plans to invest heavily in The George, in the town centre, but these are currently on hold due to the delay
“We are extremely annoyed with the delay to Westfield as it is stopping our development of The George as we have matters that need to be discussed and agreed,” a spokesman for the chain said.
When asked what plans the company had for The George, the spokesman refused to reveal any more details. No planning applications have been submitted to Croydon Council.
“All we will say at this stage is that Wetherspoons is keen to invest in The George,” the spokesman added.
“However this is being frustrated by the delay in the development of the Westfield site.”
Work to build the Westfield Hammerson shopping centre was supposed to start this year but has been put off until at least 2020.
As well as 173,684sqm of shops and leisure space the plans include more than 3,000sqm of office space and 3,140 parking spaces. The development will also include up to 967 new homes in a build to rent scheme.
A completion date of 2023 – 10 years after it was first given the go ahead – was suggested not so long ago, but with the building work not yet started, this now seems unrealistic.
Earlier this month, Croydon Council leader, Councillor Tony Newman, confirmed that discussions with Westfield are still ongoing but gave no definite progress update on the start-date for building.
“In terms of Westfield, we are in ongoing discussions with them,” said Cllr Newman.
“We want to see less not more car parking in the scheme. We have more influence because of the delay [so] we can do absolutely everything we can to see a reduction not an increase.”
Throughout October, there have been whispers in Croydon that Wetherspoons are looking to close one or more of its pubs.
There were rumours that The Skylark, on South End, was one of the pubs being reviewed.
However, Wetherspoons has quashed those rumours.
A spokesman for the chain told MyLondon they had “no intention to close The Skylark”.
The news will be a relief to many who drink in the long-standing pub, although no guarantee was given about the future of the other six Wetherspoons pubs.