The fate of Croydon retail centre will be decided tonight (Monday, November 25) when the London borough of Croydon council votes on whether to give the go ahead to a £1bn shopping centre.
Plans for the two million sq ft development, of which 1.4m will be retail space, have been drawn up as a joint venture by rival property groups Westfield and Bullring developers Hammerson.
The Croydon Partnership proposes that the south London town’s two main shopping centres - the Whitgift Centre and Centrale - will be merged. Under the outline planning permission to be considered by councillors, Whitgift Centre is to be demolished and replaced by a new shopping centre in the same vein as Westfield’s Stratford and White City developments.
The scheme is expected to create 5,000 new jobs and, if given the go-ahead, work is expected to start at Whitgift in 2015, with the opening scheduled for 2018.
The move follows months of wrangling between the two rivals over the land, which was finally settled in May with the creation of the Croydon Partnership. Although Westfield had originally submitted its own planning documents, the development was revised after the two teamed up.
It is hoped the development will act as a catalyst for wider regeneration of the town, and follows the development of the Croydon Village Outlet centre which opened on September 19.
The discount retail centre has taken over the 530,000 sq ft site a year after the Croydon department store Allders closed, making it the UK’s largest outlet centre.