Around 50 developers, business leaders and investors gathered for the tour on a glorious autumn morning, with the sun showing Croydon at its finest.
The day began with a breakfast reception at Croydon College. Heather Cheesbrough, Director of Planning and Strategic Transport at Croydon Council, gave an overview of all the exciting schemes already on-site – such as Tide Construction’s 101 George Street development, R&F at St George’s House and Pocket Living’s scheme at Addiscombe Grove.
Caireen Mitchell, Principal at Croydon College then outlined her ambition to ensure the town’s employers had the skilled work-force it needed for success in the future and Ben Craig from Network Rail updated the delegates on the latest plans to improve the ‘bottleneck’ around East Croydon station.
From the College, tour guides Richard Plant, Partner at SHW and Chairman of Develop Croydon, Alex Gale and Holly Purvis, from SHW, and Bonnie Stephensmith from Develop Croydon, took the group on a short walking tour of Ruskin Square before boarding a private tram through the town centre down to Therapia Lane. The group were then taken on coach down the Purley Way, getting a closer look at the ‘industrial heartland of the borough’.
Arguably the highlight of the day was the trip to Leon House, where guests were taken to the spectacular roof gardens of the recently converted office block. The group enjoyed the incredible views showing off the greenery of the southern part of the borough and all the huge development transforming the town centre.
After hearing more about the apartments at Leon, that are already in use, and the plans for phase two of the Leon Quarter development, the touring party returned to the town centre for a walk around the Whitgift Centre. Matt Sims, Chief Executive at Croydon BID, delivered a speech outlining the exciting plans for the area, including the Croydon Partnership’s £1.4billion retail centre that will begin construction next year.
The day finished with a buffet lunch at Yumn, in Boxpark, with all in attendance agreeing it had been a useful and informative morning.