In a blow for Croydon town centre, the Westfield Shopping centre will not go ahead as previously planned and John Lewis no longer plans to open a new store in the town centre – another shambles presided over by the Labour council. Plans for a Westfield store were confirmed back in 2013 with planning consent granted by the previous Conservative administration, and the Government even committed support of £10m to help make it happen. But the Labour administration which then took over the council in 2014 dithered and tinkered and repeatedly moved the goalposts – and seven years later Westfield have now changed their minds.
If the original plans had been proceeded with, the centre would have opened some years ago. I am in contact with Westfield, and I am hoping that they can be persuaded to spruce up the existing Whitgift Centre (which is in very poor condition) or do a more modest piecemeal redevelopment which is much-needed – but this awful situation was entirely avoidable.