A new £1.4 billion Westfield shopping centre in Croydon has been unanimously approved by councillors.
Work will begin on London’s third Westfield complex in 2019, with 7,000 new jobs and 1,000 new homes included in the plans.
The building project will form the heart of a scheme to regenerate Croydon town centre, with the centre itself sitting within a redeveloped core of Croydon’s former Whitgift Shopping Centre.
The centre will offer the public a choice of more than 300 shops, restaurants, cafes and leisure facilities – as well as a new multi-screen cinema and bowling alley.
The scheme was jointly negotiated between the Council, the Croydon Partnership, responsible for the plan’s overall planning, the Greater London Authority (GLA), and the Minister for London Greg Hands, with backing from the area’s three local MPs.
Leader of Croydon Council Tony Newman said he was “delighted” that developers had been granted approval to commence the works, and said the plans marked confidence in the town as a place to invest.
He said: “This is fantastic news for Croydon and we have been doing everything we can to bring the redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre to fruition so local people can benefit from its wealth of offerings, including the creation of 7,000 new jobs.
“The new homes and the thousands of jobs this development will bring shows investors are rightly confident about Croydon as a place to live, work and spend free time.”
Sarah Jones, MP for Croydon Central, tweeted: “Brilliant that Croydon Council approved £1.4bn Westfield development this evening.
“Croydon is one of the most exciting places to live in London right now – with Boxpark, the Fairfield halls development, street art, huge musical talent and Tech City.”
Westfield UK/Europe’s head of development, John Burton, said: “The approval of the £1.4bn plans to redevelop the Whitgift Centre represents a significant milestone for the project and for Croydon.”
He added: “The positive response from the London Borough of Croydon provides confidence to retailers, investors and the community, enabling the Croydon Partnership to create South London’s best retail, dining and leisure destination and deliver new homes and 7,000 jobs.”
There are currently Westfield shopping centres in Shepherds Bush and Stratford.
Martin Corney, Chief Executive, The Whitgift Foundation, said: “This is a momentous decision for Croydon’s future and we are thrilled that approval has been given by the Council for the scheme to go ahead and create one of the UK’s top 10 shopping and entertainment destinations.
“This is also significant for the Foundation to secure our future funding so that more children can attend our schools, as well as offering increased care and support to older people and the borough’s carers who are looking after a friend or relative.
“As a Croydon landowner and charity, we are in a unique position to help safeguard the town’s future prosperity for decades to come and ensure our rental income is put back into the community through our charitable activities.”