Westfield ups pressure over Croydon development

Westfield ups pressure over Croydon development

Westfield ups pressure over Croydon development

Westfield ups pressure over Croydon development

Westfield ups pressure over Croydon development

First published in Local news Croydon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy editor

Westfield bosses have unveiled plans for Croydon and argue aggressive tactics are key to quickly breaking the deadlock over the redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre.

A public consultation was held in the town centre between July 5 and 8, where the retailer set out its £1bn masterplan, including 1.5m sq ft of retail space, a cinema and bowling alley, about 500 homes and 5000 new jobs.

The Australian company faces competition from rival retail giants Hammerson for the right to the North End site, but despite being rejected by the majority leaseholders of the site, have ploughed forward with preparing plans, set to go before the council later this month.

John Burton, Westfield’s director of development, said: "This just increases the pressure, not just on Hammerson but on everyone, including us.

"There were two ways to do this, sit and wait around for the dispute to be settled, which could have taken years, or push on.

"Croydon doesn’t have years, it needs this development now."

The impasse between Westfield and Hammerson arose after the land owners The Whitgift Foundation agreed Westfield should be the developer.

Leaseholders Royal London Asset Management and Irish Bank Resolution Company disagreed and following a bidding process including both Hammerson and Westfield, chose the former as their development partners.

Mr Burton admitted by pushing forward with the plan his company risked losing millions.

He said: "This sort of thing, to get through planning contractors, architects just to get something before the council, you are talking about millions, but the same is true of both companies.

"Everyone knows what is at stake here which is just another reason for us to move forward.

"All the parties are acutely aware of the need to get some serious dialogue going."

As part of the public consultation, 150,000 leaflets were distributed across the area inviting a response from residents, and thousands of questionnaires were distributed.

Defending an incident at Westfield Stratford on June 29, which saw a man stabbed to death, Mr Burton said: "That was a terrible incident, but since we opened we have worked with Newham and the police and crime is down significantly in the area.

"The fact is this wasn’t a random shopper this was two gangs choosing to have their fight in our centre."

The company has promised if picked to develop Whitgift, it will work with Croydon BID, the council and the police to provide additional security.

To view Westfield’s plan visit www.westfield-croydon.co.uk

Comments (12)

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9:58am Mon 9 Jul 12

Vitriolal says...

Waste of time no one will visit Croydon now
Waste of time no one will visit Croydon now Vitriolal
  • Score: -5

10:14am Mon 9 Jul 12

Double Glazing says...

Will they be handing out pointed tip umbrellas to customers? lol
Will they be handing out pointed tip umbrellas to customers? lol Double Glazing
  • Score: -5

11:14am Mon 9 Jul 12

GR-London says...

What planet are these people on?

How can so many people just 'not get it?'

You could spend £200bn on concrete, bricks and glass in Croydon, but you'd be better off building a prison to lock the undesirable up, who seem to be attracted to the centre.

If there is any money available to spend, use in ways to reduce crime and make people feel safe.
What planet are these people on? How can so many people just 'not get it?' You could spend £200bn on concrete, bricks and glass in Croydon, but you'd be better off building a prison to lock the undesirable up, who seem to be attracted to the centre. If there is any money available to spend, use in ways to reduce crime and make people feel safe. GR-London
  • Score: -6

3:47pm Mon 9 Jul 12

Az_Central says...

I live in Central Croydon and I'm glad that a huge developer like Westfield are spending time to gauge public opinion on a construction site that is going to be worked on for years.

I don't remember Hammersons doing this prior to building Centrale.

Well done Westfield. If you stay like this, you will fit in seamlessly with the people of Croydon.
I live in Central Croydon and I'm glad that a huge developer like Westfield are spending time to gauge public opinion on a construction site that is going to be worked on for years. I don't remember Hammersons doing this prior to building Centrale. Well done Westfield. If you stay like this, you will fit in seamlessly with the people of Croydon. Az_Central
  • Score: 8

9:13pm Mon 9 Jul 12

AnonymousWriter says...

Westfield should definitely be picked to develop the Whitgift Centre. They have changed Stratford so much and made it a world class shopping centre. They did not fail to deliver a fantastic and popular centre which looks great. It has provided many jobs and new housing for people. They lived up to their promise and its extremely popular now, with many visitors each day. The plan also looks great and I'm certain it will look similar to that just like the Stratford one.

Hammersons shouldn't be picked. Its not highly popular and won't bring much visitors here. And as developers of Centrale, they don't seem to have made it look nice or popular which shows that they aren't the right company. Hopefully, the people picking the developers know what they are doing and what's good for Croydon.
Westfield should definitely be picked to develop the Whitgift Centre. They have changed Stratford so much and made it a world class shopping centre. They did not fail to deliver a fantastic and popular centre which looks great. It has provided many jobs and new housing for people. They lived up to their promise and its extremely popular now, with many visitors each day. The plan also looks great and I'm certain it will look similar to that just like the Stratford one. Hammersons shouldn't be picked. Its not highly popular and won't bring much visitors here. And as developers of Centrale, they don't seem to have made it look nice or popular which shows that they aren't the right company. Hopefully, the people picking the developers know what they are doing and what's good for Croydon. AnonymousWriter
  • Score: 4

2:37pm Tue 10 Jul 12

Jon10 says...

To be fair to Hammerson, they only bought Centrale shopping centre in March last year.

On the other hand, they are historically useless at consultation, at least according to residents around Brent Cross in north London.

Westfield's development director may earn shovelfuls, but at least he has been on the Westfield Whitgift stand, putting the hours in. No-one from Hammerson even showed up at Brent Cross, and it was left to unknowledgeable PR company drones.
To be fair to Hammerson, they only bought Centrale shopping centre in March last year. On the other hand, they are historically useless at consultation, at least according to residents around Brent Cross in north London. Westfield's development director may earn shovelfuls, but at least he has been on the Westfield Whitgift stand, putting the hours in. No-one from Hammerson even showed up at Brent Cross, and it was left to unknowledgeable PR company drones. Jon10
  • Score: 2

4:09pm Wed 11 Jul 12

#zephyr_neat says...

i find it unbelievable that people are so ill informed on Westfield n & its "credentials" given its poor recent history
one MASSIVE point is the Westfield site in Bradford..they started TEN years ago..that's right, it's taken them a DECADE to put a hole in the ground!
given that Westfield is an Australian based company it's difficult to see why it would have any determination to carry out the work with even the slightest enthusiasm..it seems a case of "we've won the contract now lets party!"
Westfield? more like WASTEFIELD as the people of Bradford have aptly named it..in return for their trust they have been left with a hole for a shopping centre
any plans Bradford have seem to have gone down under
i find it unbelievable that people are so ill informed on Westfield n & its "credentials" given its poor recent history one MASSIVE point is the Westfield site in Bradford..they started TEN years ago..that's right, it's taken them a DECADE to put a hole in the ground! given that Westfield is an Australian based company it's difficult to see why it would have any determination to carry out the work with even the slightest enthusiasm..it seems a case of "we've won the contract now lets party!" Westfield? more like WASTEFIELD as the people of Bradford have aptly named it..in return for their trust they have been left with a hole for a shopping centre any plans Bradford have seem to have gone down under #zephyr_neat
  • Score: 1

4:11pm Wed 11 Jul 12

#zephyr_neat says...

i find it unbelievable that people are so ill informed on Westfield n & its "credentials" given its poor recent history
one MASSIVE point is the Westfield site in Bradford..they started TEN years ago..that's right, it's taken them a DECADE to put a hole in the ground!
given that Westfield is an Australian based company it's difficult to see why it would have any determination to carry out the work with even the slightest enthusiasm..it seems a case of "we've won the contract now lets party!"
Westfield? more like WASTEFIELD as the people of Bradford have aptly named it..in return for their trust they have been left with a hole for a shopping centre
any plans Bradford have seem to have gone down under
i find it unbelievable that people are so ill informed on Westfield n & its "credentials" given its poor recent history one MASSIVE point is the Westfield site in Bradford..they started TEN years ago..that's right, it's taken them a DECADE to put a hole in the ground! given that Westfield is an Australian based company it's difficult to see why it would have any determination to carry out the work with even the slightest enthusiasm..it seems a case of "we've won the contract now lets party!" Westfield? more like WASTEFIELD as the people of Bradford have aptly named it..in return for their trust they have been left with a hole for a shopping centre any plans Bradford have seem to have gone down under #zephyr_neat
  • Score: 0

5:53pm Wed 11 Jul 12

Mr O Folkes says...

Fantastic news that Westfield are showing such interest in regenarating the Whitgift Centre but rather than building another CINEMA which we already have one in Grant's and Valley Park. Why not build a Swimming Pool which would be more benificial to the our community and cost a lot less to attend.
Fantastic news that Westfield are showing such interest in regenarating the Whitgift Centre but rather than building another CINEMA which we already have one in Grant's and Valley Park. Why not build a Swimming Pool which would be more benificial to the our community and cost a lot less to attend. Mr O Folkes
  • Score: 0

6:38pm Wed 11 Jul 12

#zephyr_neat says...

@YourWestfield is where the real news is at, looks like John Burton's PR team can't cope with the influx of tweets from the angry residents of Bradford..usual response, apparently an "announcement" is imminent..pity work isn't imminent
@YourWestfield is where the real news is at, looks like John Burton's PR team can't cope with the influx of tweets from the angry residents of Bradford..usual response, apparently an "announcement" is imminent..pity work isn't imminent #zephyr_neat
  • Score: 0

4:16pm Thu 12 Jul 12

JDeBarker says...

Just as a warning for the good people of Croydon, you might be interested in this piece I wrote today about our experiences of Westfield up here in Bradford

http://louderthanwar
.com/coming-soon-the
-long-wait-westfield
/

Nearly 10 years on we still have a 12 acre, 20ft deep hole in the city centre with Westfield still promising they will start building again "soon".

Be very wary of the promises this company makes.
Just as a warning for the good people of Croydon, you might be interested in this piece I wrote today about our experiences of Westfield up here in Bradford http://louderthanwar .com/coming-soon-the -long-wait-westfield / Nearly 10 years on we still have a 12 acre, 20ft deep hole in the city centre with Westfield still promising they will start building again "soon". Be very wary of the promises this company makes. JDeBarker
  • Score: 0

10:13pm Thu 12 Jul 12

Dan Rodson says...

In all fairness though Westfield Stratford City has been conceived and built in less than half the time that this supposed hole has been made in Bradford. It is obvious to me why, because foreign investors have their magnifying glasses fixed on London, and almost have a to hell with the rest of the country attitude especially the north! You just cannot compare London with the north, it's like trying to compare Japan and Gabon. Which is why I believe that Westfield Croydon will be built, and there will still be a massive hole in Bradford in 5 years time!
In all fairness though Westfield Stratford City has been conceived and built in less than half the time that this supposed hole has been made in Bradford. It is obvious to me why, because foreign investors have their magnifying glasses fixed on London, and almost have a to hell with the rest of the country attitude especially the north! You just cannot compare London with the north, it's like trying to compare Japan and Gabon. Which is why I believe that Westfield Croydon will be built, and there will still be a massive hole in Bradford in 5 years time! Dan Rodson
  • Score: 0

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