MP Jones: Time for Westfield to grasp Croydon opportunity

Sarah Jones, the MP for Croydon Central, today responded to the news that Westfield’s parent company had bought out Hammerson’s half-share in the Croydon Partnership, including the Centrale shopping mall, potentially removing the log-jam in the long-delayed redevelopment of Croydon town centre.

Time to get to work on town centre: MP Sarah Jones

The MP said, “Yesterday we had the welcome news that Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield has bought out Hammerson and acquired an outstanding stake.

“This has been on the cards for months and I hope it shows a real and lasting commitment from Westfield to the town of Croydon. Our town has been waiting for so long for change to the Whitgift Centre and town centre.

“There are two major challenges now. The first is to fix the basics in the Whitgift Centre and High Street – the leaky roof, the pigeons, graffiti, run-down shop fronts – and bring in some temporary ‘meanwhile use’, like pop-up shops or community spaces.

“The second challenge, of course, is the design that must now be developed, agreed and completed. I am hoping we will see a master plan agreed before the end of the year, and begin to see movement on site in 2024.

“The last time I met the chief executive of URW I told him about the wonderful place that Croydon is, its 1000-year history and its people. I talked about the huge potential in our town centre and the incredible opportunity to breathe life into our shopping centres.

“There are so many exciting things going on in Croydon: green shoots of regeneration with so much potential that will only keep growing and strengthening if Westfield grips this opportunity.

“I hope that this announcement is progress, and I will keep talking to Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, working constructively with them wherever I can.”

Read more: Westfield seals deal to buy Hammerson out of town centre
Read more: Perry blasted after trying to take credit for Westfield’s new deal
Read more: Crisis for Croydon as Westfield ‘reviews’ its £1.4bn scheme
Read more: Mary Portas, Westfield, Bradford and a £1bn hole in the ground

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12 Responses to MP Jones: Time for Westfield to grasp Croydon opportunity

  1. Ian Bridge says:

    ‘Hope to see movement on site by 2024’
    Really? I cannot see anything happening very quickly at the moment.

    • Manda Seag says:

      2024, we wish!!! Certainly not with Croydon Council’s planning dept……. And that’s ignoring ‘stakeholder’ consultations, TFL/Mayor or London getting involved etc etc ….. Another 10 years of town centre blight unless people start making common sense decisions at pace.

  2. How did someone so naive ever survive to adulthood, let alone become an MP?

  3. There could be a role for the Croydon MP’s to leverage out public subsidy for public transport investment and public housing subsidy to allow for more social housing to be provided as part of the scheme. This would help Westfield. Westfield in central Croydon unfortunately is a road based location so maybe getting government to relax the purse strings for TfL at Fiveways would allow traffic to flow better there both for the extra homes that will come on Purley Way and for traffic to Westfield. Repairing the flyover before it falls down would help too.

    The Mayor should also look to cultivate an alternative retail offer at East Croydon, a part of the town which is more successful and a location now more relevant for sustainable development for retail than late 1950’s American style freeway car-borne based shopping. Having an alternative plan would keep Westfield having to make a competitive offer to Croydon.

    Public transport provision, public transport policing and a greener town could be aided by an office workplace parking levy. The levy raises £10 million a year for Nottingham.

    Green space provision is needed in part to replace the loss of green space at Queen’s Gardens. Green space happens in retail centres like Hakata in Fukuoka.

    • WTF? Are you serious? Croydon needs more traffic like it does muggers and chuggers and the proverbial hole in the head. There’s a climate emergency, remember?

    • Lewis White says:

      In a few years, cars should be electric, so many of the “local pollution issues” and related objections to car travel by shoppers will have gone (whilst not forgetting the global pollution and human problems and issues around battery production / recycling and lithium and other metal mining).

      Sorting out the traffic circulation, even sorting out the traffic lights and traffic priorities and on the existing road pattern, at 5 Ways at Waddon is important for everyone, and helping people to drive–and park cheaply– in central Croydon is sadly going to be key to the success of a renewed Whitgift shopping centre.

      OK, a moving airport-style travelator from East Croydon station right into the heart of the Whitgift centre (or “Westfield South”) would help get shoppers down the road quickly and easily from East Croydon Station would help.

      As would cosy canopied bus stops to bring shoppers right in to the centre.

      I just don’t see suburbanite Croydonians with cars to use, who used to drive to the Whitgift in the olden days, ever driving back into Croydon if they have to pay, as the experience of free parking at Purley way and Ikea trumps all.

      How do today’s under 50’s shoppers want to go shopping ?
      Probably– also go by car–if they have anything biggish or much to buy.
      Tram and bus too, but the comfort and interior spatial design of buses needs to be roomier and better.

      A South London radial Underground, linking Lewisham, Catford, Bromley, Beckenham, Addiscombe, east Droydon, Westfield, Waddon, Wallington, Sutton, Cheam, Morden, Wimbldon, Kingston and Heathrow would also help, although it would open up the worryingly easy possibility of some Croydonians going into Bromley for a percieved “posher shop”.

      So many seeming possbilities.

      Dioes anyone have the design vision, and the political ambition and will, to deliver on an integrated redevelopment of a new Whitgift and High Steet area with a lot more than just formulaic “mall shops”?……………. plus the transport improvements that will bring in the punters?.

      Andrew Pelling also highlights the need for greening. Thank you AP. He is so right about the importance of combining within the design a mix of buildings and the right kind of “outdoors” and “greening”. I include within these, “daylight” , shelter, and “ambience”. We all respond positively to a well designed mix of indoors and outdoors. A modern retail / residential / park, in the real sense of the word “park”. Not just “park-ing” !

      I really hope that Unibail Westfield select a design team that delivers sensible greening and outdoor spaces as well as undercover shopping. Not only for the shoppers and visitors, but also for the well-being of staff, who are deprived of daylight in indoor mall-style developments.

      New, sheltered sunny squares and traffic-free streets (with some dappled shade to avoid overheating) for outdoor cafes, and walking spaces, within the new development would have to be carefully designed, and positioned away from tall bocks, and on the sunny South and West sides of them, to avoid the deathly cold of shadowing, and the wind tunnel eddies that sadly go with high rise blocks.

  4. M D VALAPINEE says:

    Does that mean that Croydon Council will give all residents in the borough a refund on the 15% as now the money will be raking in

  5. Jess says:

    Sarah Jones does love a bandwagon. Nice person, no doubt, but what was she doing while the Council was being bankrupted? What was she doing when Heather Cheesborough, Paul Scott and the town crammers were destroying the borough? She was unwilling to speak up against the actions of Labour Councillors and Senior Council Officers to the cost of residents. Only ‘now’ does she think the Whitgift needs help? Really? I had high hopes for Sarah – I really thought she was different – but she’s a politician and it’s party before people.

  6. At first I thought this was a non-story, But that’s not possible in IC. But now I see you have given Ms Jones a platform to make an arse of herself. So, she’s repeated what we all knew, added some self-evident detail and then revealed that she’s ‘met’ the exec in charge of all this. When was that? What is she offering? Zilch, I can see for myself.

    • Christopher: you have a habit of demonstrating that you don’t know a thing about that strange commodity we like to call “news”. You’re a bit like Comrades Newman and Weed in that regard, only prepared to accept that something is worth reporting if it chimes closely with your own notions of what exists.

      So, if a Chief Nurse, or senior healthcare official, does their job and provides advice, links and phone numbers for the public to use in the event of a medical emergency, or lesser health incident, we will publish it as a public service, because it may be useful to someone.

      And on the matter of quotes, an old journalist called Harry Evans once told me that quotes are only important either because what they say, or who is saying them.

      So when an MP for one of the Croydon constituencies says something, anything, about the leading news item of the day, then it is worthy of being reported because of who has said it.

      There is a caveat to all that, regarding Chris Philp. In that respect, I refer you to John Crace.

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