Hammerson’s selection as redeveloper of the Whigift Centre in Croydon is “inexplicable”, according to its freeholder.

The Whitgift Foundation has released a damning statement on the decision to give the owners of Centrale exclusive rights to redevelop the North End site.

The Whitgift Foundation, which owns the freehold and part of the leasehold of the Whitgift Centre, had entered exclusive talks with Australian firm Westfield last year.

But the other two leaseholders, Royal Asset Management and IBRC Assurance Company, had not been consulted and began their own talks.

Jones Lang LaSalle opened up the process to bidders and announced today that Hammerson was the preffered candidate.

But the Whitgift Foundation has revealed it was excluded from the talks.

The statement said: “The selection of Hammerson as the preferred development partner of the Whitgift shopping centre by the two Leaseholder's is inexplicable and will not deliver the much needed widespread regeneration of Croydon.

“The recent process, conducted on behalf of the two leaseholders by Jones Lang LaSalle, purported to choose their preferred developer for the regeneration of the town centre.

“However, the Whitgift Foundation, which was established more than 400 years ago and is totally committed to the well-being of Croydon, was excluded from the process despite being the freeholder of both the shopping centre and adjoining properties.

“The Whitgift Foundation has a binding agreement with Westfield who are prepared to commit a highly experienced team to focus on the regeneration of Croydon.

“We see an immediate and narrow window of opportunity which requires urgent action, focus and commitment and we continue to invite the leaseholders to be part of this solution and to work with us in Croydon's best interests."