London’s third Westfield complex will be built in Croydon following unanimous approval by city councillors for the £1.4 shopping centre development.
It could be a "catalyst for renewal in the South London borough as it is expected to generate thousands of jobs and bring in many millions into the local economy.
The centre will span three levels and host about 110 shops and restaurants. There could also be a cinema and space for either a 250-bed hotel or student accommodation for 500 beds. In addition, hundreds of new homes will be built nearby.
3,140 car parking spaces are planned plus an initial 300 spaces for cyclists.
The site is currently occupied by the Whitgift Centre, a large shopping centre and office development. It is expected to be demolished from next year.
A new flagship Marks & Spencer store will replace the current store on North End.
Pleased to announce, together with @Hammersonplc, that our £1.4bn redevelopment plans for Croydon have been unanimously approved by London Borough of Croydon. Our plans will deliver a new retail, dining and leisure destination, creating 7,000 new jobs and regenerating the area. pic.twitter.com/70ftDSNmSf
— Westfield UK (@WestfieldUK)
"This is fantastic news for Croydon and we have been doing everything we can to bring the redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre to fruition so local people can benefit from its wealth of offerings, including the creation of 7,000 new jobs," Croydon Council's Tony Newman said.
"The new homes and the thousands of jobs this development will bring shows investors are rightly confident about Croydon as a place to live, work and spend free time."Westfield first announced an interest in developing at the location in 2011.
Delays in approvals had left many locals jaded after the initial masterplan for the redevelopment was approved in 2013. It is hoped that Westfield will not only just rejuvenate Croydon but attract shoppers from outside the neighbourhood.
Westfield’s other London centres are located in White City and Stratford. In 2016 Westfield said its White City shopping centre attracted a footfall of 27.3 million and achieved retail sales of £996 million.
Stratford City Westfield boasted a footfall of 47 million people during 2016 and annual retail sales of £1.15 billion.
It is anticipated that work to demolish the existing Whitgift Centre will begin in 2018, with Westfield aiming to be open by 2022.