Allders crisis 'has not dampened Westfield's enthusiam for Croydon', says director
THE crisis facing Allders has not dampened retail giant Westfield's enthusiasm for coming to Croydon.
John Burton, Westfield's director of development, said there were obviously concerns about Allders going into administration and one thing Westfield and everyone else would want to see avoided is the store "going dark".
That, he believed, made it even more essential that proposals for the redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre went ahead as quickly as possible.
With that in mind, Mr Burton said, its plans for a new centre would be submitted to the council next month with the hope the scheme would get planning permission by the end of the year.
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Westfield is the chosen partner for the redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre's freeholders, the Whitgift Foundation.
It is up against a rival operation involving majority leasehold partners, Royal London Asset Management and the Irish Bank and Centrale shopping centre owner, Hammerson.
Mr Burton remains confident, however, that Westfield's commitment to investing £1 billion in Croydon, at a time when investment cash is in short supply, will eventually win the day.
Mr Burton said: "We have recognised the importance of Croydon for more than ten years and all the ingredients for a major development are there. It is well located and has excellent transport links.
"We did the deal because at the end of the day there is nothing more Croydon about Croydon than the Whitgift Foundation."
But he added: "The Allders situation demands action.
"It means the faster we can get on site, the more reason there will be for the people of Croydon to know something is happening.
"We have to show Croydon what we can do. Let's get on with the planning application and at the same time, in the background, we will be resolving the impasse with the leaseholders."