Go-ahead for revised Croydon town centre scheme

Revised plans have been approved for a major retail-led mixed-use development in Croydon town centre, including a significant rise in housing provision compared to that proposed in an extant permission.

A visualisation of the finished development
A visualisation of the finished development

In 2013 the London Borough of Croydon approved outline plans for the redevelopment of the Whitgift Shopping Centre.

The plans, submitted by the Croydon Partnership, a joint venture between developers Westfield and Hammerson, included provision for new retail, leisure and restaurant space, together with new public realm, new car parking and up to 600 homes. The development would have created up to a maximum 357,138 square metres of gross external area floorspace.

The developers subsequently revised the plans and a new planning application was approved yesterday by Croydon Council.

According to a planning report, the revised application would deliver "between 626 and 967 residential units", and the development would create up to a maximum 507,571 square metres of new gross external area floorspace.

The application also proposed that the homes would all be for private rent under the build-to-rent model, rather than for market sale as previously proposed.

The report said that the council requires an obligation within the section 106 agreement to deliver a minimum of 20 per cent of the total number of build-to-rent units as discounted market rent (DMR) units.

It said that these homes would provided on-site, with rental levels in 40 per cent of the DMR units to match London Living Rent and the remaining 60 per cent to achieve 80 per cent of market rent levels.

However, the report said that this would be subject to review mechanisms, "seeking up to 50 per cent affordable housing, should the viability of the scheme improve".

Recommending approval, planners said that "Croydon town centre is not currently fulfilling its potential as a metropolitan centre as demonstrated by its high vacancy rates, static rental values and a lack of retail quality and choice compared to its competing centres".

"The redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre site in the heart of the town centre offers the opportunity to rebrand Croydon (as required by the London Plan), act as a catalyst for regeneration and unlock the potential of a number of other sites which have failed to come forward", the report said.

The application could yet be called in by the mayor of London or secretary of state. 

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