Judge set to dismiss challenge against Croydon Whitgift regeneration

A High Court judge has indicated that he will block a legal challenge against planning approval for a major mixed-used regeneration scheme in the centre of Croydon.

Croydon: artist's impression of the redeveloped shopping centre
Croydon: artist's impression of the redeveloped shopping centre

The challenge was mounted by the operators of the existing Whitgift Centre, who face the looming threat of compulsory purchase if the ambitious scheme goes ahead.

The judge, Mr Justice Collins - who earlier in the hearing confessed to being a frequent visitor to the Whitgift Centre - said that he will give the reasons for his decision at a later date.

Four existing leaseholders of the Whitgift Centre had sought to persuade him to quash the planning permission granted by the London Borough of Croydon in February for a dramatic redevelopment of the site and surrounding land by developer Westfield.

They claimed that the mixed-use plans put forward by Westfield and retail property specialists Hammerson are not viable, and failed to meet local planning policies on the provision of affordable housing.

However, lawyers representing both Croydon and the developers denied that the scheme is unviable and branded the court case an "opportunistic" attempt to protect the commercial interests of the Whitgift leaseholders.

They claimed that the scheme will secure much needed regeneration of Croydon and bring in around 5,000 jobs.

R on the Application of Equiom (Isle of Man) Limited v London Borough of Croydon. Case Number: CO/1205/2014

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