Westfield outlines Whitgift ambitions

By Paul Norman - Thursday, May 17, 2012 9:15

Westfield and the Whitgift Foundation’s pre-application proposal for the redevelopment of the Whitgift shopping centre in Croydon will go in front of Croydon council planners tonight, as uncertainty continues over who will eventually develop the site.

The Australian retail giant’s plans would involve demolishing the majority of the buildings excluding the car park and Marks & Spencer building.

It is proposing 1.3m sq ft of retail, 150,700 sq ft of leisure, including a bowling alley and cinema, and between 400 and 600 homes. Around 4,000 car parking spaces are also proposed.

However, at the same planning meeting, Hammerson which is part of a consortium proposing rival plans for the centre, is expected to gain consent for the £50m redevelopment of the adjacent Centrale shopping centre.

Last November, Westfield agreed an exclusivity deal with the Whitgift Foundation, which owns the freehold and 25% of the leasehold of the mall, to redevelop the shopping centre.

In April however Royal London Asset Management and IBRC Assurance Company (formerly Anglo Irish Bank) selected Hammerson as their preferred partner to develop the Whitgift Centre, which neighbours Hammerson’s Centrale.

The partners have said that the merger of Hammerson’s interests in the two centres will “create a unique opportunity to bring about a game-changing event for the benefit the whole town”.

Confirmation of just who will bring forward a redevelopment of the Whitgift appears a long way off at present with neither side showing signs of wishing to reach a compromise.

A spokesman for Westfield told the Croydon Guardian: “In November 2011, Westfield was chosen by the Whitgift Foundation, the 100 per cent freeholders and 25 per cent leaseholders of the Whitgift Centre, to be their preferred development company and has signed a binding agreement.

“Westfield on behalf of the Whitgift Foundation has been appointed to submit its plans for the redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre.”

pnorman@costar.co.uk

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