Croydon Council approves plans to build £1.4 billion shopping center.Westfield’s third London shopping development, in Croydon, gained planning approval this week and is expected to open by the end of 2022. The Croydon Partnership between Westfield and Hammerson received the resolution to grant outline planning permission from the London Borough of Croydon for its updated plans for the £1.4 bn redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre.
The masterplan including the addition of the third level of retail and restaurants, the incorporation of the Green Park House office site; allows for better integration with West Croydon, improved public area on Poplar Walk, as well as the opening of a brand new flagship Marks & Spencer store. The plans also include a new covered 24/7 public walkway, the East-West Galleria, that will improve connectivity within the town centre and enhance safety and security on the site. The newly approved projects include an increased housing provision of up to nearly 1,000 new homes adjoining the redeveloped centre, including a higher percentage of affordable housing.
John Burton, Westfield UK and Europe’s Head of Development, countered the opinion of weak timing with the backdrop of Brexit and ageing consumer confidence keeping the minds of many by saying to MAPIC News: “Even if these were genuine factors, the single thing that puts all of this aside is the demand for the product. We are building something that is wanted, irrespective of the macroeconomic factors. If it wasn’ t different, these macroeconomic issues would have a much greater impact on the decision-making.” He said trading in West eld’s other London malls in Shepherd’ s Bush and Stratford is positive. “The numbers in our two centres don’ t reflect the general pessimism that is out there,” he added.
Burton also warned that much of the shopping-centre stock in the UK is outdated and that this is having an impact on their trading prospects: “In the next 12 months, I think we’re going to see the gap between the history of retail and the future beginning to open up,” he said. Westfield is also on target to open the 69,000 sqm extension to its West eld London mall in late March 2018, with approval in place for the 20,000 sqm extension to the Stratford scheme, with completion targeted for early 2019.
In Milan meanwhile, the nascent Westfield Milan shopping centre is anticipated to welcome its first shoppers by Christmas 2020.