The first major milestone is likely to be a decision from the Council on the new outline planning application which was submitted in October last year. This provides for an upgraded scheme, with a brand new store for Marks & Spencer, three levels of shops and additional homes. The outline planning permission will provide the catalyst for work to start on detailed design and for the submission of further applications to secure final approval for the proposals.
At the same time, discussions will continue with key retailers and leisure operators who will be occupying the largest units in the scheme. Further announcements on this are expected throughout the year.
On the ground, both the Centrale and Whitgift Shopping Centre management teams will be working hard to continue to provide a vibrant and diverse shopping experience in the town centre with events, promotions and new stores. Superdrug opened its second Croydon store in Centrale before Christmas and is offering a wide range of beauty treatments including a dedicated brow and lash bar. Some minor refurbishment and upgrade works to Centrale are also planned during 2017, which will improve the environment and provide enhanced facilities for customers.
Preparations are also being made for the time when the Whitgift Centre has to close by offering a number of retailers space in Centrale so that they will be able to move across and keep trading. This is a key focus to ensure that the town centre remains open for business and offers a wide choice of shops throughout the construction of the new development. Croydon BID will also play an important role during this time in terms of supporting communications with the public and local occupiers. These moves will take place next year allowing the Whitgift Centre to trade through the busy Christmas 2017 period.
In a wider context, Croydon Partnership will continue to work with all stakeholders, including Croydon Council, the Greater London Authority and Transport for London to co-ordinate with the five year infrastructure programme scheduled for delivery from 2017-2021 to support the significant regeneration proposals in the town centre. The construction programme for the centre is aligned to fit in with this which will minimise disruption during construction. It will also help ensure that Croydon is ready to accommodate the influx of new shoppers, workers and residents when the new centre opens, transforming Croydon into one of the top three retail, dining and leisure destinations in London.