Delancey plan for another 1,000 flats around Nestlé Tower

Nestle Tower: 23 storeys, simply to make it twice the height of what was then Croydon's tallest building

Nestle Tower: about to be turned into flats

When does “regeneration” become “over-development”?

Central Croydon may be able to offer answers to that question by the end of this decade, after the latest development announcement which includes another 1,000 flats in and around St George’s Walk, Segas House and the Nestlé Tower.

A report in Estates Gazette this week said that, “Delancey is seeking a development partner for a 5.5-acre residential-led regeneration scheme in the heart of Croydon”.

Delancey is a real estate management company which, with the help of Qatari money, bought the Olympic Village in 2011. It also owns Minerva, who hold the key Allders building on the Whitgift Centre site, and who were the principal objectors at the Compulsory Purchase enquiry held in Croydon earlier this year.

Minerva already owned the listed Segas building on Wellesley Road, beside Queen’s Gardens, and this autumn they spent £10 million to buy Croydon’s first skyscraper, the Nestlé Tower. Industry sources suggested that they got this as a bit of a bargain.

The Nestlé Tower has been standing, festering, for more than three years since Nestlé, the borough’s biggest private employers, packed their bags and quit Croydon after rows with the Tory-led council and its senior executives.

Delancey's Jamie Ritblat: has he now got his hands on the throat of central Croydon?

Delancey’s Jamie Ritblat: has he now got his hands around the throat of central Croydon?

The 24-storey Tower was designed by Ronald Ward and Partners and completed in 1964. Legal and General bought the tower from Nestle in 2012 after having obtained office-to-residential  planning permission for 311 flats with an end value in the private rental sector of £75million. Minerva, who own the surrounding buildings, put the squeeze on, on this occasion successfully.

“Legal and General could not move forward with the scheme themselves due to Minerva owning the surrounding buildings,” according to Ollie Salter, a surveyor at property specialists Morgan Pryce.

Salter added, in an investors’ note which those running Croydon Council ought to read and digest: “There are ominous clouds above the London’s residential market – especially the private rental sector which may put doubts on the end value of the development.”

The businessman behind Delancey/Minerva is Jamie Ritblat, who has long been demanding that his property interests in Croydon deserve similar attention and assistance as that being offered to Hammerson and Westfield, the developers of the £1 billion Hammersfield supermall, which is being undertaken largely at the behest of majority land-owners the Whitgift Foundation. “It’s in the interests of Croydon that a comprehensive and sustainable solution to regenerate the whole of the town centre is found,” a company spokesman has said.

The Minerva-owned bit of central Croydon has, according to Estates Gazette, “only recently been unlocked after years of manoeuvring between competing developers, but is not set to be a key component of the ongoing regeneration of Croydon”.

Croydon has been here before with Minerva. The company had a previous plan for 1.1-million sq ft Park Place development involving Segas House and St George’s Walk, but this got mothballed when Westfield bustled into town. So much for Croydon Vision 2020…

Many in Croydon may be disappointed at somewhat prosaic designs that have been released for the re-designated Nestlé Tower, while unfunded, wishful-thinking about adapting Segas House for educational use, such as an art gallery or for Croydon College, will remain just that.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in "Hammersfield", Allders, Business, Centrale, CPO, Environment, Planning, Property, Segas House, Whitgift Centre. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Delancey plan for another 1,000 flats around Nestlé Tower

  1. £10 million for Nestle Tower is most certainly a bit of a bargain. It was completed refurbished a few years ago and readers will be well aquainted with the published cost paid by Croydon Council for Fisher’s Folly and Davis House.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Jonathan Law says:

    What is the point of building all these residential properties if the prices for them are going to be so high that few will be let realistically and will stand empty…or will be sold to “foreign investors” who may use them a couple of days a year if at all, whilst the borough still has a shortage of housing for “regular” people?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. marzia27 says:

    Croydon has not the necessary infrastructures to build more residential and not-affordable-for-locals properties. Service charges will add to the nightmare.
    Will “foreign investors” buy in a town that has an incinerator on its doorstep, horrendous 7 day a week parking charges and no green spaces? I doubt it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. croydonres says:

    Marzia has made several very good points. The KEY point is about green spaces. If Croydon gives planning permission to developments that lack greening, all that the planners will be doing is to re-create a denser and even less tolerable version of the old bleak windswept concrete Croydon of ill-repute.

    Any fool can fill a site with buildings. The result , in all cases, will be poor–rubbish even.

    If Croydon cares about its future, to create an attractive, liveable, and thus sustainable future for Croydon, we should not be like some floozy touting for any business from any developer Tom, Dick or Harry, but we should be more discriminating, and create a much greener, albeit denser, town centre with decent medium and high rise buildings by good architects, in agreen setting designed by talented and prcatical Landscape Architects and Urban Designers..

    I think that much of what Croydon’s Planners and Urban designers are doing now (and with the area Masterplans over the last few years) is actually very good, and is making the town greener and more liveable. However, the pressures from high-profile developers waving cheque books, getting planning permission in outline or full, and then asking for just another floor or two here, a bit more footprint there, and less area taken up by “landscaping” (with the implied threat that the cheque book might be taken away) must be very high. I’m glad that I don’t have to stand up to such pressures.

    The time of Urban Design Trial is now definitely with us, however, and the mad Menta Tower, and the proposed ultra Naff Violin case Chinese Tower could take us beyond the point of no return. The Saffron Tower is a far better work, worthy of the name “architecture” , but even so, the green areas around the base are tiny, dark and rather grim. Let’s hope that the major redevelopment of he East Croydon ex station goods yard is green, sunny, attractive and a good place to live work or just be in. I am feeling positive about this one.

    I have nothing at all against redevelopment of the very sad St George’s walk area. We desperately need this worn-out area to be sensitively but boldly redesigned and rebuilt. I would like to see a developer with the courage and resources to “Go for Green”. Keep the wonderful Art Deco Segas building and convert it to a fitting use, even offices. Keep and refurbish the Nestle Tower. Knock down and redevelop the undistinguished Katherine Street and Park street frontages, with medium-rise flats and keep the frontage along he High Street with the Portland stone arms of Croydon as taste of god old 60’s Croydon (like many readers of your distinguished electronic organ, I have nostalgic feelings for some of the concrete and offices)..

    Then– rip out the rotten core–the decrepit St George’s Walk shopping “mall”. Build…… not buildings , but a new Landscape–a park! A sister to Queen’s Gardens. Let’s call it St George’s Gardens. It would be big enough to have one part ( that nearer the High Street) as a public open space, open at all hours to the public, or closed at Midnight. One half could be private, gardens like a London Square for the privileged owners or lessees of the luxury flats. Even rich people are entitled to greenery, after all.

    Dear Mr Ritblat, are you our brave St George, ready to come to Croydon , to save us from bad developers, and are you willing and able to finance a really green redevelopment for sad old, run down St George’s Walk?. One that has lower buildings on the South side, to let sunlight into the core, and higher ones on the North (Park Street side) , where taller buildings will only block light from the back of the shops in George Street?. And build buildings with green roofs?

    I do hope so. If you are , we need you right now to end 20 years of terminal decline for St George’s Walk.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like the comments by Croydonres. Croydon town centre is particularly short of open space and specifically green space in the area north of the A232. Wandle and Park Hill are the nearest parks but are some distance from the centre. Developers will be reluctant to give up land for open space for commercial reasons. Central London is quite blessed with parks etc but Croydon is unfortunate not to has retained more open space. It will be very hard to rectify this but they have been trying over recent years to make the best use of what is available. One only has to observe the Queens Gardens in the summer to see the demand for some green space.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like and agree with everyone’s comments! It must be Christmas!

    It really does seem that the Council, jointly and severally, has taken leave of its collective senses and abandoned any pretence that it is capable of thinking logically. Totally blinded by the glittering lustre of £££££ and more ££££ it can only see one way of developing the town: more flats and one big shopping centre. The sequelae seem to have been totally ignored.

    The town centre is already a traffic nightmare. New residents will bring even more cars to the centre. There are not enough places in our primary and secondary schools. Where will the children of the new flat dwellers be educated? There are no council leisure facilities in the centre of town. Apart from Vue and the less than full time, and tiny and wonderful, David Lean there are no cinemas in the town centre. There is only one small patch of green land in the centre and that will get smaller as even more flats are built. The one remaining cultural centre, Fairfield, is to be closed for two years at least, total stupidity, and there is a good chance that it will never reopen. Its a total nightmare scenario, a bad dream likely to leave us with many years of dereliction and a totally ruined town. In a word, ugh!

    Like

    • sandilands02 says:

      Hey don’t worry. Westfield im sure will bring in a ten screen cinema at least.
      Grants is hardly ever full as hardly anyone actually lives in central Croydon.

      Schools across croydon have kids criss crossing town. More local demand means more local schools for local children, anyways i hear there are 2/3 schools coming on tap in the new few years. Also most the flat dwellers will be young, great time to start a nursery i think.

      Do agree about the lack of green space at the centre of town. The current park place / St George’s Walk should be demolished and made into gardens. It will make central croydon looks amazing

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Lewis White says:

    It is worth thinking about who actually buys flats. I , like many readers, are basically traditional suburbanites who live in a house of 2 storeys — terraced, semi or detached — with a garden.

    Other dear Readers of Inside Croydon might live in flats–maybe a high rise, but, numerically speaking, more likely a converted Victorian House, or a low rise block of 4 or 5 storeys in landscaped grounds such as replaced many Victorian houses in Addiscombe, Purley and Park Hill area of E Croydon.
    The big difference between these living spaces and the modern flats on offer in Croydon is the much more urban nature of the new town centre flats, which might not even have a balcony. Around the base of these urban blocks and towers, there might be no on-site landscape at all. They stand on the street.

    This is very much like flats in European cities, even in places like Copenhagen, as well as Madrid, Paris and a host of others.

    I for one would not probably not be able to adapt to living in these environments with zero or minimal green space to come down to and relax / garden in. I’d go mad after a week. I need trees to look at, and grass to walk on. Yes, I am very lucky to have this. Many don’t.

    However, clearly there are millions of urban Europeans and South Americans who live this dense urban flatted lifestyle. There might be thousands of Brits willing to do so too, perhaps for all their lives, or maybe for part. However, I can’t help thinking that without MEANINGFUL green space built in to the new inner Croydon, as David Wickens is saying, the new residents will be deprived of access to green. This is why in my view it is so wrong to have tiny, sunless “green” spaces in the shadow of tall buildings. For goodness sake, people need sunlight and air! We need it where we live, not miles away.

    Hence our Planners and Politicians need to be given Urban and Landscape Design training — in the form of visits to good and bad developments– so that they can avoid giving planning permission to places that no one in their right minds would want to live, and certainly where people should not be forced to live.

    Finally, I would hazard a guess that green developments with good buildings will always be desirable places to live, and will maintain their resale value. How many of the high towers going up now in Croydon (and those of recent years) will do this, and how many will become the vertical Favelas of the future?. Younger readers of Inside Croydon will be around to find out, in 30 years time. One hopes that Croydon Corporation of 2045 (if not privatised out of existence) will not be allowing council tenants to live in failed blocks.

    I hope that we can prick the nascent property bubble now, and re-set the machine on to a sensible, non self-destructive course, with sustainable, mixed development — yes, development with “Green” infrastructure, new parks and squares, and the schools and living spaces for elderly people and the starter flats and houses for young people and single people we also need.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love the idea of vertical Favelas and think Lewis White is 100% right.

    At the moment, planning seems to be more concerned with quantity than quality.

    It is a bad adaptation of the old Tesco slogan “Pile it high and sell it cheap”….in Croydon its “Pile it high and sell it expensive”. The outcome, unless the infrastructure suggested by Lewis is implemented, will be a dehumanised, concrete slum of the future.

    Like

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