The approval, by Sadiq Khan, for the redevelopment of Croydon town centre is great news. It's a £1.4billion investment expected to generate 7,000 new jobs and 1,000 new homes.
Personally, I hope they learn from other recent projects that haven't been as successful as they might.
Boxpark in Croydon is a great venue. The location is ideal, right next to East Croydon station. The concept is wonderful; lots of different foods in one place so that everyone can have exactly what they want. The prices, however, are astronomical.
In the run-up to the opening, everyone I know who works and lives in Croydon was looking forward to a wide range of different lunch choices (Sainsbury's sandwiches can only be eaten so often) and somewhere different for dinner on occasions. The sad thing is that few people can afford £10-12 for lunch very often.
I understand that Boxpark is a short-term project, before the site is built upon as the Ruskin Square development expands, but it's not delivering on peoples' expectations.
Looking forward to the completion of the redevelopment of the town centre, I only hope that the range of retail, dining and leisure facilities provided will reflect the socio-economic and demographic mix of Croydon and the surrounding areas.
I only hope that the rents for the units doesn't try to claw back the investment in a short term way, so that the prices to the consumer mean the number of consumers slides over time. Boxpark was packed every day when it first opened. Nowadays, it is far less busy and a good number of units are empty because the businesses have not been able to make any money.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Today marks a crucial step forward in the regeneration of Croydon town centre. “This development will play a key role in unlocking the borough’s potential and is set to deliver huge economic benefits to residents and businesses in the borough. “As well as the creation of 7,000 jobs and the delivery of almost 1,000 new homes, it will also attract many visitors to its brand-new leisure facilities and public spaces. I’m confident the benefits of this scheme will be felt for generations to come.”