Croydon's Whitgift Centre will become another Westfield if new plans to regenerate the town centre go ahead.
Westfield and developers Hammerson, which was working on a separate plan for the Centrale shopping centre, have joined forces and been given Mayoral blessing. The new plan would combine the Whitgift and Centrale and create a 200,000m² scheme with shops, leisure outlets and flats, and maybe offices and hotels. Croydon Council still have to give planning permission, but Boris Johnson – who will need to give the ultimate go-ahead anyway – is throwing his weight behind it.
The announcement comes a day after a new strategic plan for Croydon was approved, which will use £23m from the Mayor's Regeneration Fund to improve some of the main entrances to Croydon, like around West Croydon station and the junction of Dingwall Road and Lansdowne Road, repairing the high street, making things better for pedestrians and attracting businesses. More general aims including developing 7,300 more homes in the area in preparation for an expected 17,000 new residents, reviving high streets and enabling the creation of new public spaces.
While Westfield has been criticised for hurting Stratford High Street and shops around Shepherds Bush (though the main interviewee in this Telegraph article is the CEO of HMV so, er, maybe the problems were more widespread), perhaps making sure the Croydon development is part of a wider masterplan will help?