In March 2008 I wrote:
"It looks like the Park Place development scheme has collapsed (or rather is going to collapse).
How many years has the council (both Labour and Tory) tried to kid us that this development would ever happen?
Who seriously believed that this scheme would ever get off the ground?
How many other development schemes touted by the council are going to fail to get off the ground?
The failure of Croydon council to plan effectively has led to the degradation and decay of the area designated for the development, eg St George's Walk. Local businesses, such as Turtle's, have been under threat of closure because of this scheme."
In May 2005 I wrote that:
"Turtle's, one of Croydon's best known independent stores, is searching for new premises after compulsory purchase orders were issued to acquire the land for the £500M Park Place shopping centre."
In February 2005 I wrote about Minerva funding Croydon Council's fight against the Whitgift shopping centre expansion plans proposed by Minerva's rivals, who own the Whitgift. I stated then that this must surely raise reservations about the council's independence.
In October 2008 I wrote:
"The Park Place development is dead in the water, yet it is still destroying the heart of Croydon."
Today we finally read the obituary of this unwanted, and unloved, scheme.
Property Week report that Croydon Council is to cancel its development agreement with Minerva to develop Park Place, after it said there was "virtually no chance" that Minerva could develop the scheme.
Have I not been saying the self same thing for quite some time?
The council without a single trace of irony are quoted:
"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".
Croydon council leader Mike Fisher, said:
"I very much hope that we do not have to resort to CPO proceedings as this will only further prolong the delay that has blighted the area and devastated so many of the traders who used to operate in St George's Walk, but if another CPO is the only way we will follow that route to ensure the area is regenerated."
The above comments from Fisher and the council beggar belief. They are the ones responsible for ripping the heart out of the centre of Croydon, and inflicting the blight that will remain for decades to come.
I would also remind them that were it not for their pig headed intransigence the Gateway development, that they sought to block for so long, would have long since been completed. Instead, thanks to their insistence in backing the wrong horse, they have succeeded in ensuring that the redevelopment has been delayed further as a result of the financial and property crisis. Thus adding another blighted area to the centre of Croydon.
The people of Croydon have been ill served by their council over the past decade, there is not a cat's chance in hell that the council are capable of reversing the blight that is eroding the heart of Croydon.