Scheme could collapse if anchor store not delivered
John Burton of Westfield has admitted to the Inquiry that the agreement with the Whitgift Foundation is dependent on the delivery of the anchor department store. Will John Lewis has signed up it is only on a provisional basis. http://www.croydonguardian.co.uk/news/11775411.Westfield_and_Hammerson_plans__could_collapse__if_no_department_store_signs_up
I have emailed the Inspector that if the report on Westfield’s agreement with the Whitgift Foundation is correct then it increases the case I put to him in my submission that he should call the Foundation in to give evidence. I have also pointed out that a serious problem with John Lewis being the potential store is that at the moment having contracted them out so they are no longer members of the Partnership their cleaners are not being paid the London Living Wage (LLW) which the Council believes is what people should be paid and which Westfield has recently signed up to. I have also written to the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain which is campaigning for the LLW for the contracted out John Lewis cleaners.
Minerva decides not to appear at Inquiry
Minerva has decided not to give oral evidence at the Inquiry, although its written objections and submissions still stand. For more about Minerva see my posting:
Total demolition of Whitgift Centre building
It appears that what was previously thought would be a phased demolition of the Whitgift Centre, allowing parts of it to remain open for business while construction took place is now not to happen.
Read more: http://www.croydonadvertiser.co.uk/Whitgift-Centre-close-completely-years-Westfield/story-25981339-detail/story.html#ixzz3QuHUse1h
Barwell lobbies CPO Inspector
According to Inside Croydon Tory MP Gavin Barwell has written to the CPO Inquiry Inspector supporting the CPO. It is the right of everyone to write, but it is to be hoped that such letters will be posted on the Inquiry website.
Is Westfield going to be gobbled up?
It is reported that Westfield’s head company is ripe for take-over. https://www.fool.com.au/2015/02/03/is-westfield-corp-ltd-a-takeover-target. If this happens will the new owner remain committed to the Croydon scheme?
Inquiry press coverage
You can see further coverage of the Inquiry at:
Council is spending money improving North End
The Council has started spending money on a month’s works to improve North End as part of the Connected Croydon programme. https://www.croydon.gov.uk/planningandregeneration/regeneration/northend
New issues for Inspector to consider
I have written to the Inspector suggesting that a number of answers to Members Questions at the 26 January Council meeting raise a number of issues relevant to the Inquiry which he might want to consider raising as questions.
- Alleged Benefits of Whitgift Area Development
- What is the programme of meetings with local stakeholders that the Council Leader told the Council meeting on 26 January would start in February?
- Which local stakeholders will be invited to take part in these meetings; will they include all those which submitted objections to the CPO?
- Do not these meetings pre-empt the outcome of this Inquiry and the pending High Court review of the judicial review rejection of the outline planning application?
- Transport Problems into the Town Centre
- What do the Council and CLP consider are the potential impact of these findings (re-transport problems in the Town Centre) for ensuring that the public transport system can ensure an increasing number of potential shoppers into the CPO area after construction is completed?
- What steps and the Council and CLP taking to discuss with public transport providers how these problems can be overcome?
- Surrey St Market
- In assessing the impact of the proposed development what consultation did the Council and CLP have with the Surrey St market traders, and what assurances were given that it will not have an adverse effect. ?
- In view of the Croydon Advertiser’s report that while upbeat about the Westfield/Hammerson development, Surrey St market traders ‘said they did not know how they will survive the years of disruption before it is completed’, and that all traders spoken to by the Advertiser said they had not been consulted and did not know how Surrey Street would fit into the plans and in view of the Council’s wish to help improve the market as set out by Councillor Letts in her reply to a question at the Council meeting on January, are the market traders being invited to the local stakeholders meetings?
- Economic Viability Issues
- Given the experience with asbestos removal in the redevelopment of St Georges House in Park Lane, what surveys have been carried out by CLP into the quantity of asbestos that may have to be removed in the course of demolishing buildings, and given the phasing of the building how will those living, shopping and working along North End be protected from exposure to asbestos dust and fibres?
- Given the acknowledgement about the delay in the works St Georges House has been partly due to ‘significant shifts in the housing market and in construction costs which have required some redesign and value-engineering to improve the viability of the approved scheme’, would the Council, CLP and Deloitte please explain what those shifts have been and how these would currently affect the economic viability analysis.
- In the light of the acknowledged problems of identifying PRS organisations to manage affordable housing units, what steps has CLP taken to identify potential PRS organisations to take on the management of the affordable housing units on and off site and so far which ones have expressed interest?
- Night -time Economy
- Is there not a contradiction between the argument that the Town Centre inc. the CPO area is running down and the increasing number of people who come to the Town Centre?
- Does not the increase in the number of people coming into the Town Centre suggest that they are not discouraged by the alleged run down of the Town Centre because it offers them a wide of retail and leisure opportunities?
- What are the Council and CLP’s projections on the growth in the night time economy that may result from the scheme?
- Have the Council and CLP discussed with the Croydon police the implications of day time and night time policing of the scheme during the construction phase and afterwards?
- What comments have the police made about the potential policing implications on the scheme?