Last week I met with Westfield and local restaurant owners to talk over plans for Croydon’s town centre.
Over the course of more than an hour, we had a constructive discussion about what needs to change moving forward.
For twelve years Croydon’s residents have been left uncertain after countless reviews and delays. With construction initially meant to start in 2017, a brand-new shopping centre was meant to open its doors in 2020. Building work was then delayed to 2018, to 2019, and in 2020 it was announced that the entire redevelopment was under review.
Such doubt and uncertainties have caused businesses to leave Croydon, and footfall around our town centre has fallen. What was once a thriving hub that brought people down from London has now become increasingly derelict and unappealing.
But this year light began to emerge at the end of this long, dark tunnel, as Westfield bought out the entire ‘Croydon Partnership’ project and announced that they were undertaking ‘master planning’ for the area.
I therefore wanted to convene this meeting between our local restaurants and representatives of Westfield to provide some further impetus to these plans. We discussed what businesses are looking for if they are to move into Croydon’s town centre, from smoother planning processes to the need to build a positive atmosphere around the town once again.
With incentives for businesses and continued commitment from Westfield, I very much hope that we will begin to see some movement within the next year or so. I hope that our meeting was a small step towards getting our town centre moving once again.