Out-Law / Your Daily Need-To-Know

Croydon to use CPO powers for Whitgift site

Out-Law News | 08 Apr 2014 | 4:31 pm | 1 min. read

The London Borough of Croydon's Cabinet has resolved to make a compulsory purchase order (CPO) for the land required for Westfield and Hammerson's redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre in Croydon town centre.

The £1 billion scheme was granted planning permission in February. It includes the conversion of the existing shopping centre into a 1.5 million square foot retail and leisure destination, with between 400 and 600 new homes, and is expected to create 5,000 permanent jobs.

The scheme will also involve improvements to existing public areas adjacent to the development such as Poplar Walk, North End, Wellesley Road and George Street together with new road junctions at Wellesley Road and Park Lane.

CPO powers can be used to acquire land for development where agreement with the existing landowners cannot be reached.

The Council's planning officers said in the cabinet report that the complexity and diversity of the land ownerships in the site meant that it is "not likely that all the necessary land interests or rights can be assembled by agreement so as to enable the scheme to proceed to meet the policy objectives within a reasonable time frame".

“The Westfield/Hammerson development is hugely important for Croydon," said Council leader Mike Fisher in a statement. "It is the catalyst for our town’s regeneration, delivering thousands of new jobs, homes and fantastic retail and leisure facilities while attracting further investment."

“We know our residents and businesses are as eager as we are for this long-anticipated transformation of our town centre to get under way. As a council, one of the most important things we can do to ensure it progresses quickly is to help assemble the land. [This] decision to make a CPO brings Croydon another step closer to regeneration and marks another milestone on this exciting journey,” Fisher said.

"We are delighted to have worked with the Council and Croydon Limited Partnership on this significant milestone for the Whitgift redevelopment and for Croydon's town centre," said Richard Ford, planning law expert at Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com. "We anticipate progressing the CPO process over the next few months alongside negotiations to acquire land by agreement."