Croydon Council abandons agreement to build new shopping centre
By Andrew Worden
Croydon Council is ending its development agreement with Minerva relating to the proposed Park Place retail scheme.
The council is exercising its right to give 10 days notice of the termination after it says it became clear the developer would be unable to bring forward a scheme in line with the planning permission granted five years ago - which has now expired.
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A council statement released this morning (Tuesday) said: "As a routine safeguard, the council entered into a deed of indemnity and development agreement with Minerva in December 2004 so as to ensure all costs involved in supporting the Park Place scheme and making a compulsory purchase order required for land assembly, would be covered by the developer.
"Under the terms of the agreement Minerva was required to submit a strategy for securing funding.
"With the planning permission for the scheme having lapsed on May 7 and Minerva failing to replace Lend Lease who pulled out of the project last year the council considers there is no viable scheme for the site and therefore the CPO granted in March 2007 cannot be implemented by next year's statutory deadline.
"In these circumstances it believes it has had no option but to give the developer notice of termination.
"Rather than prolong the inactivity that has blighted the site for so long, the council now intends drawing up a revised strategy for the site which will include attracting John Lewis to the town centre.
"It is hoped that a new CPO will not be necessary but this will be a fall back position when a new development partner is in place.
The Park Place scheme was intended to cover an area bounded by Park Lane, Katharine Street, High Street, North End and George Street.
It also includes the Allders store in North End and a few additional buildings north of George Street
John Lewis was hoped to be the anchor tenant for the retail centre.