Westfield Delay Becomes National News
Concern about the continuing delay in the Westfield development started by the renamed Sutton and Croydon Guardian has become a national news story, including on TV and in journals like Retail Gazette, Drapers
In addition Inside Croydon reports on the increasing problems facing Hammerson (13 February), while City A.M. reported on 5 February, that the compnay is embarking ‘on a radical overhaul of its business’ in order ‘to appease its shareholders …. through a new strategy in which more than £1bn of properties will be sold off by the end of this year, as the firm disposes of its retail parks and focuses on flagship shopping centres’. This follows the announcement in early January that its shares were down 39%, knocking £1.6bn off its value. (This is Money.co.uk; 4 January)
Then reports in the Evening Standard and Inside Croydon on 14 February states that the owner of the Westfield shopping centres says that ‘it is “reviewing” the Croydon scheme ‘because of Brexit and “structural changes” on the high street.
The week ended with Inside Croydon reviewing Gavin Barwell’s role in the Westfield story as a result of it being raised in the House of Commons on Thursday.
Town Centre Development News
What permanent pedestrianised High St means for public transport
Andrew Kennedy comments:
‘Complete gobbledegook reporting with respect to roads and closures “The permanent closure of High Street will begin in April. This will allow the road to temporarily reopen for traffic rerouted by the closure of St George’s Walk for the R&F Queen’s Square development.” And the Local Guardian webpage as dire as the Croydon Advertiser’s. And “Street Live” was NOT a great success, audiences in their 10’s not hundreds. I know I was there. I welcome the pedestrianisation of that part of the High Street but it’s not the best place for Street Live. It would be better used as a Street Market venue as some members of the Architectural Foundation agreed on our recent tour with the incidentally the Council’s Placemaking Team. Tends to be draughty and cold. It’s a route home from the shops, it’s not a destination whereas Katharine Street outside the Town Hall will be a destination and that’s where the newest and most effort should be directed.’
Competitive tender to design Fairfield open space
In Inside Croydon (15 February) retired landscape architect and local resident Lewis White offers his suggestions for reviving the town centre after nearly a decade of development blight thanks to Westfield.
Planning and Development News
A rare planning victory in Thornton Heath
The scandal of mini-flats
Charlotte Davies has posted a comment on my blog post on the HMO Article 4 Direction consultation raising concerns about micro flats and the planning system.
Design Guidance, Local Green Spaces and Local Heritage Areas
Steve Dennington, Service Head – Spatial Planning at the Council, tells me:
(a) The SPD2 – Suburban Design Guide is scheduled to be considered at Cabinet in March and considered for adoption at Full Council in April.
(b) Local Green Space and Local Heritage Areas policy topics may form part of the Local Plan Review (of the 2018 Local Plan). The scope and engagement strategy is being developed over the coming month.
Community led housing schemes to be forced to work with Brick by Brick
The Council’s support for community led housing schemes will require them to work with its controversial Brick by Brick development company. (Inside Croydon 14 February). Back in December I reported on the comments I made about the dangers of this idea to the officer preparing the report for Cabinet:
Body blow to Croydon: Body Shop to move HQ (Inside Croydon 7 February)
Council takes back parks maintenance in house (Inside Croydon 7 February)
John Ruskin College forced to merge (Local Guardian)
Spotlight on Barwell and Croydon Tory special advisers (Inside Croydon 14 February)