Croydon Citizen is debating where Croydon’s community, cultural scene and economy are right now, and what they’ll need in the coming year.
This is an important discussion. Key questions for the coming year include:
- What will the political parties offer that changes the fundamental way in which they will run the Council from May?
- What will be the effect of the Local Plan when it is adopted?
- Will the retail giants mergers lead to the Whitgift redevelopment being dumped?
- How will Fairfield Halls operate when they are re-opened?
- How can genuinely affordable housing be provided?
The second part of my article on Croydon Citizen on the threat and opportunities facing our parks and open spaces has been published at
Croydon Pawn in the Battle of the Retail Giants
Croydon is clearly a pawn in the battle of the retail giants. Hammerson has taken over INTU and Westfield has been gobbled up by for £18.5bn by the French company Unibail-Rodamco, which becomes the largest shopping mall operator in the world.
This clearly changes the balance of power within the Westfield/Hammerson Whitgift Partnership. The new owners of Westfield may well wonder why they want to continue a partnership with a major rival. Hammerson may also wonder whether they want to continue to boost the Westfield portfolio now that it is owned by a major rival.
At the moment both sides are saying that they are committed to the new Whitgift shopping centre scheme aiming to start work on site in 2019.
Council Leader Tony Newman welcomed the merger saying that the Council has assurances that the scheme will continue. Only time will tell whether the board will hold true to that commitment.
Silence on Whitgift issues from lead Council officer and Westfield
Both the Council and Westfield are keeping very quiet about the detailed issues that still have to be resolved. The lead Council officer has so far failed to reply to an email from me sent on 16 November. This states:
‘As one of the Councillors said in the discussion on Tuesday ‘The Devil is in the detail’.
Steve Yewman spoke to me afterwards and said that he supported the detailed matters being considered by Committee not under delegated powers, and agreed with my point about crime.
I attach the text of my statement and the email I sent to all Councillors. I did not hand out copies of the statement because I made several amendments to reflect the concerns of Mark Samuel who met me at 6pm before rushing off to a urgent meeting elsewhere, what was said in the presentation and answers to questions, and to take account of a matter drawn to my attention by another objector in the public gallery who had decided not to exercise his speaking rights.
Both documents set out a number of issues of concern to a wide range of people active in the community and labour movements in Croydon.
With the sheer scale of the paperwork involved it is of course difficult for members of the public to read and analyse everything that was submitted for the application.
It may be that some of the issues in the attachments are dealt with satisfactorily, and if they are it would be helpful to know which documents deal with them.
In terms of the point I made for Mark Samuel about TV mitigation, I have let him know about that the matter will be in the Section 106 agreement, but I am sure that he will be in touch with you because he is concerned that the geographic effect could be wider than you may think. It also occurs to me, as a non expert, that the increasing number of towers in the Town Centre may have a cumulative interaction affect making reception and mitigation more difficult.
On the issue of the hotel this cannot really be classed as residential. If W/H decide to have one then the total number of homes will be reduced, and therefore the number of affordable housing units will be reduced. It will also raise complicated issues about servicing, coaches etc.
Although I opposed the redevelopment scheme at the CPO Inquiry, it is a pity that W/H does not seem to have tried to actively engage with those, like Andrew, who have put forward positive suggestions and concerns for improving the scheme since 2012 which will encourage more people to come to the Town Centre.
I hope that you will encourage W/H to meet with people like Andrew in a three way meeting with your team.’
The text of the statement I made to the Planning Committee can be seen at
Steve Yewman of Westfield has also failed to respond to an email sent to Westfield for his attention (15 November), which I was informed had been passed to him.