Slow progress on shopping mall could see all plans beached

CROYDON COMMENTARY: With news of Mike Ashley’s takeover of House of Fraser, LEWIS WHITE, right, jumped into his time machine to see what may lie in store for the town centre

With the shrinkage of retail over recent years, and the surplus of office space in Croydon as a result of major employers such as insurance companies and Nestlé leaving town (for whatever reason), the only remaining hope for regeneration of long-derelict or commercially declining sites in Croydon town centre is the creation of new flats in existing buildings (like Leon House) and development of new blocks of flats of the sites of former buildings (like Taberner House).

Whether the demand for so many flats is actually there is another question.

Another question is whether land owners and landlords like the Whitgift Foundation are prepared to adjust to making smaller profits from new development than was usual in the boom times of 1960s Croydon.

Surely, after years of holding on to land and decaying empty buildings that are not making any profit, but still require basic maintenance and security, even the richest landowner must reach a stage when they will have to stop spending out with nothing much coming in?

The prospect of dereliction for decades is a really awful one.

PLans for Croydon town centre have already changed to accommodate more residential towers than residential

Let’s hope that the yuppification of central Croydon succeeds.

The alternative historical prompts for urban renewal on a large scale tend to be things like wars and fires like the Great Fire of London.

One hopes for a somewhat gentler catalyst for urban renewal and the future for Croydon. And a reasonably quick one too.

Longer term, much of Croydon may end up below the waves, as CO2 levels increase, resulting in global warming and ice caps melting.

Grandchildren of today’s Inside Croydon readership might live to see Croydon High Street become a beach, overlooking the bays of Waddon and Beddington, with killer whales cruising off the coast of Addiscombe.

Deck chair and ice creams anyone?


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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
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3 Responses to Slow progress on shopping mall could see all plans beached

  1. derekthrower says:

    I don’t know if the conversions of Leon House (up for shared ownership), the current modular development by Croydon College and the budget flats next to East Croydon URC really represent a yuppification of Croydon, but more a budgetification and impoverishment. Croydon appears to be building up for a mass influx of students rather than producing properties for the general population. Hardly a formula for massive speculative gains for the Whitgift Foundation. Looks like their property strategy has gone badly astray, but i am sure with all their massive hidden resources they will still be able to carry on into the afterlife.

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  2. Jonathan Law says:

    Croydon is having a boom in building properties many of which that are too small for decent habitation.
    However maybe this doesn’t matter as maybe they were intended to be sold only/mainly to overseas investors who were “land-banking” (and maybe sticking money overseas before they could be taxed on it in their own countries)
    Maybe the developers see this as a smart move for other reasons: that being that having a deficit of housing keeps property prices sky high. If the need for property is satiated and maybe even exceeded then by the law of supply and demand house prices would fall. By making them effectively be non inhabited and sold as investments the demand remains high and un-satiated, meaning that future builds would also maintain a high asking price.
    It’s going to be odd to be in a town with lots of empty pristine apartments , rents to high to rent or buy and rising levels of homelessness….sounds like a recipe for trouble.

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  3. derekthrower says:

    The only flaw in this view is that who are going to invest in an asset that is being oversupplied and can only fall in value even if it is as an off budget sheet investment to launder assets. It is not a recipe for trouble, it means there is a crisis now if the real demand for housing is not being met to satisfy illicit speculation.

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