Tony Newman, the leader of Croydon’s Labour-controlled council, wants the new Westfield supermall in the town centre – if it is ever built – to have “considerably less” than the 3,000 car parking spaces for which his own council has granted planning permission.
His apparent support for better environmental policies, prompted by the Mayor of London’s ULEZ (or ultra-low emissions zone, which was launched earlier this month), saw Newman trapped himself into answering that he wanted the proposed £1.4billion Westfield scheme in Croydon to be “a sustainable development”, with “considerably less” car parking spaces than the currently proposed 3,000.
Newman’s public utterance represents probably his first expression of opposition or reservation about the Westfield project since the Tory-backed scheme was announced in 2012. The borough’s Town Hall politicians, red and blue, together with the Westfield-friendly chief exec, Jo Negrini, have spent most of the past seven years bending over backwards to accommodate anything and everything which the developers have demanded.
Indeed, it was Newman’s close mate, and fellow Woodside ward councillor, Paul Scott, who was chair of the planning committee which in November 2017 eagerly pushed through the permission for latest iteration of Westfield’s plans to redevelop the decrepit Whitgift Centre and the neighbouring Centrale.