Yet another rethink for Croydon's Whitgift revamp is announced
The revitalisation of Croydon in Southeast London is nowhere near to completion as the pandemic has seen the major parties involved (Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield and Hammerson) abandoning big plans to redevelop the Centrale & Whitgift Centre.
That comes after a Croydon council study said Croydon Westfield is no longer an “appropriate or sustainable development”. The original idea for a Westfield supermall had already been scaled back in 2019.
The landlords had formed the Croydon partnership as a joint-venture in 2013 with ambitious plans for a £1.4 billion reinvention of the town centre.
They said the pandemic has added to existing problems connected to the general shopping environment and to the site itself. That's perhaps understandable given that the plans were formed several yers before the Brexit vote, before the online shopping boom really took off, and definitely before Covid-19 reared its head.
But that doesn't mean the two property giants are walking away from the site completely. We may not be about to see a new supermall along the lines of Westfield London or Bluewater, but they said they would continue to work with Gordon council on regeneration plans for the location.
They emphasised that the major challenges faced by the retail industry require a new approach.
Spokeswoman Simone Cochrane said: “We look forward to working with the council to create the Regeneration and Recovery Action Plan, which will define a new vision for the town centre that responds to the changes brought about by the pandemic and embraces the needs of the local community.”
That includes making the existing Centrale & Whitgift as appealing as it cam be. The location currently hosts some big fashion names, including H&M, House of Fraser, JD Sports, New Look, Next, River Island and Zara, among others.
“In the short term, the Partnership will continue to focus on Centrale & Whitgift to ensure a safe and welcoming environment for our customers, retailers and employees, with a diverse programme of immersive events and pop-ups to enhance the town centre experience,” a spokesperson said.
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