Teaming up to transform Croydon

Teaming up to transform Croydon

Investors and developers were given an insight into how teamwork is helping to transform Croydon for the benefit of future generations at the eighth Croydon Investor Tour.

Develop Croydon - White Label's social enterprise which is a private sector led consortium of 65 partners interested in regenerating Croydon - again showcased the changing landscape of the town and promoted the opportunities which still exist.

Richard Plant, chairman of the Develop Croydon Forum, emphasised the progress that had been made since the organisation's formation with just eight founding partners in April 2010.

"Given all of the impressive developments that you can see out of the window it is easy to forget where we were when Develop Croydon started. There was a complete vacuum in promoting Croydon and it was all doom and gloom at the bottom of the recession.

"Develop Croydon came together to promote Croydon, promote investment and kickstart development and I am pleased to say it has worked in a huge way. We now have 65 members and have a really good team coming together to push the regeneration forward.

"Croydon Council and the GLA have played their part with great public realm improvements across Croydon, all before the £1.4billion investment which will see the Westfield and Hammerson development start.

"Croydon is now happening but it has only just started. There is so much more still to come – and there is still the odd opportunity waiting for the right party."

More than 50 guests were taken around Croydon by private escorted tram and a walking tour where they paid a visit to Tomorrow, Croydon's new tech hub at Davis House; the RISEgallery and Whitgift's historic Almshouses. They also heard about the updated plans for the Whitgift Shopping Centre on a walking tour hosted by the Croydon Partnership.

Meanwhile, a progress report on the 10-acre Ruskin Square site by Neil Meredith, Schroder UK Real Estate Fund's head of asset management, revealed the first phase of 161 homes is due for completion in August, Boxpark is due to open by September 1, and work on a 180,000 sq ft office building is due to finish in November this year.

Colm Lacey, Croydon Council's director of development and place, said: "This is a very exciting time and we've moved from being the people who are most likely to succeed to the people at the top of the class in terms of delivery.

"On the commercial side we've made really great strides with some major new occupiers coming to Croydon including Body Shop, Superdrug and in the pipeline HMRC, bringing thousands of new jobs.

"In the past year we've developed around £20million of the Connected Croydon programme to improve public realm, we've put in a very major planning application for College Green including a £30million investment into Fairfield Halls, a new building for Croydon College and thousands of development projects. That's a really major move on a site that has been a key barometer of Croydon for many years.

"We've also put together a new development company called Brick by Brick, focusing on smaller sites in the district centres. We're at pre-app stage on around 50 different sites in the district centre, delivering around 1,000 residential units."