Shoppers in south London were given a boost as Croydon Council approved plans for a new Westfield retail complex.
The building project will form the heart of a £1.4 billion scheme to regenerate Croydon town centre, and marks the area as the third London destination to feature a Westfield, after Shepherds Bush and Stratford.
The complex itself will sit within a redeveloped core of Croydon’s former Whitgift Shopping Centre, and is expected to produce 7,000 new jobs and 1,000 new homes as part of the overall scheme.
Work on the centre will commence in 2019, and will offer the public a choice of more than 300 shops, restaurants, cafes and leisure facilities – and a new multi-screen cinema and bowling alley.
The scheme was jointly negotiated between the Council, the Croydon Partnership, responsible for the plan’s overall planning, the Greater London Authority (GLA), and the Minister for London Greg Hands, with backing from the area’s three local MPs.
Leader of Croydon Council Tony Newman said he was “delighted” that developers had been granted approval to commence the works, and said the plans marked confidence in the town as a place to invest.
He said: “This is fantastic news for Croydon and we have been doing everything we can to bring the redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre to fruition so local people can benefit from its wealth of offerings, including the creation of 7,000 new jobs.
“The new homes and the thousands of jobs this development will bring shows investors are rightly confident about Croydon as a place to live, work and spend free time.”
Westfield UK/Europe’s head of development, John Burton, said: “The approval of the £1.4bn plans to redevelop the Whitgift Centre represents a significant milestone for the project and for Croydon.”
He added: “The positive response from the London Borough of Croydon provides confidence to retailers, investors and the community, enabling the Croydon Partnership to create South London’s best retail, dining and leisure destination and deliver new homes and 7,000 jobs.”