House of Reeves furniture store will not be redeveloped after Croydon riots
THE decision by the Reeves family not to redevelop its riot-destroyed furniture store site opens the way to a new project to help the regeneration of Old Town.
The firm belief that a comprehensive redevelopment of the site at Reeves Corner is best for Croydon has come from Maurice Reeves, chairman of E. Reeves Ltd.
The family announced last week its intention to surrender the lease it has with the Whitgift Foundation on about half the site, while retaining its freehold on the rest.
Mr Reeves told the Advertiser the decision had been taken to spend money on securing the future of the business in its other premises opposite the so-called island site.
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He said: "We have not got hundreds of thousands of pounds to put up to build a new shop from scratch."
There was no point anyway, he said, in building on just the half of the site they owned.
Mr Reeves said: "We have got to concentrate on running the shop we have left.
"Since the fire the community has supported us greatly and we think this is the correct way to go for us and for Croydon."
The business was on a viable footing and meant Reeves could continue to serve the borough as it has done for the past 145 years.
Mr Reeves said the decision would leave the Whitgift Foundation unencumbered in how it used its land.
It also enabled the family to play a part in influencing any overall redevelopment ideas which might arise out of the Old Town Masterplan.
They might include, he thought, a mixture of housing and new retail or even attractive green space at what is a key gateway to the town centre.
The idea of a mixed housing and retail development for the whole site is also likely to figure in the Whitgift Foundation's thinking.
Martin Corney, clerk to the Foundation, said: "We have had discussions with the Reeves family for some months and they have said they won't want to go back on that site.
"We are now taking further advice on what options there are for redeveloping that area."
He added: "The site forms part of the Old Town Masterplan and I think things will start progressing in the next few months."