‘London has always progressed by fits and starts,
each on destroying part of its character and leaving
behind ugly speculative buildings. A classic of the
Sixties was Croydon, once London’s “second city”.
It has seen constant re-launches on the latest planning
fad, a shopping mall, an arts centre, a university and
now the latest fad, an “iconic” tower. Nothing really
works. Croydon is a great place if you want a cheap
office and a property for £250,000. But cool it is not.
The iron law of post-digital is that today’s cool is tomorrow’s
Canary Wharf is a superior Croydon. It was designed for the
digital age, a city of the Eighties with giant floor plates, humming
mainframes, shopping centres and “stunning” flats. It was perfect
for floor traders and back-office nerds. But it has no funky hinterland.
It is a stylistic asylum with no tangential personality. Canary
Wharf has Poplar as Croydon has Thornton Heath.
Office workers at all levels can increasingly operate from
laptops in virtual space. What they need round them is “an
experience environment”, informal, diverse, preferably historic
corners of the city in which to relax. That is why rents in
conservationist Westminster are double those in Docklands.’
– Simon Jenkins, Docklands’ time is up – it’s not cool enough for post digital London.
Where is Plan B?
For months I have been arguing for Croydon to have a Plan B in case the Westfield/Hammerson development is delayed or does not proceed. This concern was shared by the Croydon TUC Working Party of the Council’s Growth Plan. Now that the developers have announced a year’s delay, the Plan B idea has now been picked up by Inside Croydon in what is now growing public debate about the development and the close relationship between the Council and the developers.
Croydon Citizen: http://thecroydoncitizen.com
Recent articles in Croydon Citizen include:
Sean Creighton – Is it growth for all or for developers’ profits?
Tom Lickley – Towering ambition: how tech could rejuvenate Croydon’s office market
Tom Black: – The twain shall meet: how Westfield could bring East and West Croydon together
Property world view on Croydon as a boom Borough:
What ever happened to this ambitious plan from 2007?:
Croydon: The Real World: Poverty Profile: