Croydon Partnership submits enhanced outline planning on the town centre. 

The Croydon Partnership, the joint venture between Westfield and Hammerson, has submitted an enhanced outline planning application to Croydon Council for its upgraded plans for the £1.4 billion regeneration of the Whitgift Shopping Centre.

The development is set to transform Croydon's retail centre to create one of the UK's top 10 shopping and entertainment destinations alongside delivering 5,000 new jobs whilst continuing to act as the catalyst for the ongoing wider regeneration of the town.

The enhanced plans continue to deliver over 1.5m sq ft of retail and leisure floor space, adopting the key masterplan and design principles from the original consented scheme, with the addition of a third storey of retail and restaurants, and a brand new Marks & Spencer store. The plans also incorporate improved connectivity, including a covered 24/7 public walkway, the East-West Galleria, as a well as a provision for up to 1,000 homes.

The submission follows extensive public consultation with the local community, where the updated plans were overwhelmingly well-received by local businesses and residents, with over 90% of respondents being 'supportive' or 'very supportive' of the new updated regeneration plans.

A decision on the planning application is expected in early 2017. The Partnership will continue to progress and seek approval for the additional detailed designs for the scheme and continue retailer discussions. This will then allow initial enabling works including some demolition of non-retail elements and moving retailers from Whitgift into Centrale and associated works for the retailer relocations.

Subject to having detailed planning permission, the required consents in place and achieving pre-letting targets, main construction would commence in 2018, allowing the existing Whitgift retailers to continue trading through the busy 2017 Christmas period. Centrale and the rest of the town centre will remain open for business during the construction period.

The Croydon Partnership has been working with all stakeholders, including Croydon Council, GLA, and TfL to co-ordinate with the 5-year town centre infrastructure programme scheduled for delivery from 2017-2021. The 3.5 year construction programme for the centre is aligned to fit in with this to minimise disruption during construction and ensure that Croydon is ready to accommodate the influx of shoppers, workers and new residents to the town.

John Burton, Westfield's Head of Development, said: "The submission of the planning application is an important milestone for the development with the new enhancements primarily driven by retailers' demand for space in Croydon. The opening of the new centre will propel Croydon into one of the top retail, dining and leisure destinations in London and will deliver significant economic and social regeneration.

Peter Cole, Hammerson's Chief Investment Officer, said: "Since securing the original consent we have seen an encouraging level of retail demand with Marks and Spencer requiring a new flagship store which has driven the design evolution. Following a successful resolution of the outline application, we will be advancing the detailed scheme designs, while continuing discussions with retailers ahead of undertaking enabling works."

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