East Croydon’s new platforms put borough on track for growth

East Croydon Station is to get two new platforms to help it cope with the increased number of passengers anticipated in a plan for growth by the Labour council, which forecasts 16,000 new jobs being created in the borough and the development of nearly 10,000 new homes over the next five years, in the midst of the £1 billion redevelopment of the town centre by Westfield and Hammerson.

Platform 1 East Croydon Station

Adding two new platforms at East Croydon is a “once in a lifetime opportunity”

The additional capacity at East Croydon looks targeted at forging greater links with Gatwick Airport, which is bidding against Heathrow to build a new runway as a solution to air passenger demand in London. Jo Negrini, the council executive in charge of the borough’s regeneration, refers to the station investment by Network Rail as “a once in a lifetime opportunity”.

East Croydon is already the third busiest passenger interchange on Network Rail, but as Negrini’s a report to next Monday’s council cabinet meeting states, “it does not have the look and feel of a nationally significant station, nor does it provide the gateway to the town centre that it should”.

The station expansion scheme will require Stanhope to give up some land on their Ruskin Square site to the west of the station. Not for the first time, either: the developers had to re-model some of their plans to accommodate the “Bridge to Nowhere”, the £22 million secondary access to the station, paid for by Croydon Council, Network Rail and Transport for London, who between them failed to secure its proper access on the eastern side of the tracks on a site owned by another developer, Menta.

Stanhope, after enduring years of multi-million-pound delays and frustrations with their project through public inquiries prompted by Croydon Council supporting a rival scheme, will undoubtedly be won over for this latest proposal, since the council’s growth report also talks about a Revolving Investment Fund, Labour’s “son of CCURV”, which will see the council investing in the Ruskin Square development, among others.

The cabinet report says, “In order to re-establish Croydon’s position as Outer London’s pre-eminent office location, there is a need to reduce the stock of obsolete space and to create a pipeline of new office developments near East Croydon Station. This process is underway.” There are proposals from developers for 1,800,000 sq ft of new offices in the borough; more than 1,000,000 sq ft of that is at Ruskin Square.

Ruskin Square: one set of artist's impressions of the office block on the corner of George Street and Dingwall Road which is a key part of the borough's drive for growth

Ruskin Square: one set of artist’s impressions of the office block on the corner of George Street and Dingwall Road which has become a key part of the borough’s drive for growth

Tony Newman, the leader of the council, headed a delegation of Croydon Labour councillors to Manchester yesterday to lobby their party’s leadership ahead of the Labour conference.

As well as an improved financial grant from central government, they will also have been seeking undertakings that, if Labour wins the general election next May, they will follow-through on Whitehall plans, announced earlier this month, to move civil servants out of costly central London to 20 specified “hubs” around the country, including Croydon. One departmental hub of civil servants could take up at least half of Stanhope’s proposed offices.

Work has finally begun on a couple of residential blocks on the Ruskin Square site. On the other side of Ruskin Square from the station, on Dingwall Road, there is to be a new Tramlink extension loop, with tracks running from George Street round to Wellesley Road, to help provide the heavily used tram system with additional capacity.

Negrini’s report, which will undoubtedly go through on the nod at next Monday’s meeting, shows the urgency to move the town centre’s redevelopment along at a rapid pace to make the most of the £1 billion Hammersfield investment. “It’s like surfing in the Pacific Ocean,” one Katharine Street figure said. “When that big wave comes along, you’ve got to make sure that you get on it. It’s no good paddling away behind and watching all that power disappear off into the distance.”

Network Rail’s planned investment to improve route capacity includes the creation of “Platform 0” and “Platform -1” – therefore avoiding the necessity to re-name the existing six platforms – and is scheduled for 2019-2024, Negrini’s report states. It will signal further disruption for commuters at the station, which has been undergoing significant work for the last three years.

“This investment provides a once in a lifetime opportunity for a more comprehensive redevelopment of the station and we are keen to bring this investment forward into the current control period,” the report says.

“The Council will support the redevelopment of East Croydon Station so it becomes
the gateway to the Metropolitan Centre that it ought to be.”

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This entry was posted in "Hammersfield", Business, Commuting, Croydon Council, East Croydon, Jo Negrini, Menta Tower, Planning, Property, Ruskin Square, Tony Newman, Tramlink, Transport, URV and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to East Croydon’s new platforms put borough on track for growth

  1. mraemiller says:

    “a once in a lifetime opportunity”…. In Scotland this phrase means the chance to buy your own country… In Croydon a couple of new rail platforms

  2. At last, at last, at last… a development proposal that makes sense!

  3. davidcallam says:

    Anthony Miller has a good point.
    Clearly Ms Negrini is no stranger to hyperbole. And we should all remember that as we read her forthcoming reports and compare them to somewhat more pedestrian reality.
    That said, additional capacity at East Croydon is a good idea, but it needs to be coupled with a new track layout north of the station to take maximum advantage of additional trains linking Croydon with a soon to be expanded Gatwick Airport.

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