Croydon retail redevelopment plans move ahead

London mayor Boris Johnson will decide tomorrow afternoon whether to approve outline plans for a major retail-led mixed-use development in Croydon town centre after the London Borough of Croydon resolved to approve the proposals yesterday.

Croydon: developers hope work will start in 2015
Croydon: developers hope work will start in 2015

The plans, submitted by the Croydon Partnership, a joint venture between developers Westfield and Hammerson, includes provision for new retail, leisure and restaurant space, together with new public realm, new car parking and up to 600 homes.

The development would create up to a maximum 357,138 square metres of gross external area floorspace.

The planning approval is part of the partnership’s wider vision to regenerate Croydon town centre, including the adjacent Centrale shopping centre, which has planning consent for a refurbishment programme.

The project would involve improvements to existing public areas adjacent to the development such as North End, Poplar Walk, Wellesley Road and George Street together with new road junctions to facilitate traffic flow at Wellesley Road and Park Lane.

A planning report into the application said that although there was non-compliance with an element of the development plan (in respect of London Plan parking policy), "when taken as a whole the proposal generally complies with the development plan, and generally achieves the sustainable development aim in terms of social, economic and environmental sustainable development.

"It also complies with the National Planning Policy Framework. Importantly, the proposal meets the strategic policy requirements for the Croydon Metropolitan Centre contained in the London Plan and Croydon Local Plan".

The report said that the loss of approximately 39,000 square metres of existing office space from within the area’s retail core was "acceptable in principle and would be in broad accordance with the objectives of local and national planning policies".

It also said that proposed planning obligations would secure that a minimum of 15 per cent of the gross internal area of the residential development would be provided as affordable housing, "of which at least 10 per cent would need to be provided on-site with the remainder being provided on-site, off-site or through a commuted sum".

Along with the outline approval, Croydon Council approved conservation area consent, granting permission for the demolition of several buildings located with the Central Croydon Conservation Area.

The report said that the facades of some buildings would be retained and there was justification for the demolition of buildings which "make no positive contribution to the character of the Central Croydon Conservation Area".

"The loss of these buildings would have no detrimental impact on the functioning of the conservation area; in fact it would make a positive impact in terms of allowing the facilitation of a vibrant retail core", the report said.

This council is due to consider the use CPO powers to support the site assembly process for the scheme in the New Year.

The Croydon Partnership said detailed designs for the scheme would be unveiled during 2014 and a start on site is expected in 2015.

A spokesman for the mayor of London said the plans will be considered by the mayor at a meeting tomorrow afternoon. If the mayor approves the application it could yet be called in by the secretary of state.

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