Named and Shamed

Named and Shamed


Squalid roads, buildings and locations in Croydon named and shamed.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


It seems that the ludicrously named waste of space of a shopping centre, Centrale, is to experiecne something of a makeover in order to attract more shoppers.

The "makeover" will in effect be nothing more than adding some coloured lights to the outside.

A few problems with this:

1 Centrale is shut at night

2 Around 50% of Centrale's retail units are empty

3 The shoppers who use Croydon are not so stupid as to be attracted to Centrale, merely by the addition of a few coloured lights. Empty retail units are the issue, not the lighting.

4 The only shop worth visiting within Centrale is House of Fraser. This in itself is showing significant signs of decline, as the food hall has now lost its fresh vegetable counter and the fish counter. Clearly they are not making any money.

5 Centrale is located near the very run down area of West Croydon, where no one wants to be near or go (least of all at night time). Until that part of town is regenerated, anything placed within spitting distance will be negatively impacted by the decay.

Those in charge of "planning" the development of Croydon have lost the plot. Croydon currently projects a downmarket, tacky and third rate image.

People are not the slightest bit interested in coming to Croydon to shop, as they know they will be greeted by the sight of decay and squalor (eg Dingwall Road) and lack of quality shops/amenities (look how far Allders has declined in the last few years, that shop is now a joke).

The solution being proposed by Croydon Council, and their "trusted" associates in the property development companies, is that we have a third shopping centre built in Croydon.

They don't get it, do they?

Until the problems of the decay and squalor that are eroding Croydon town centre are addressed, shopping centres such as Centrale will remain empty and neglected.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sweating The Assets

Croydon Council have announced a joint venture proposal whereby the council will put between £30m and £60m of property assets into a specially created limited partnership, to be matched by funds from a private sector developer.

The private investor will take over the development of the joint venture, which will also take on bank debt to help regenerate Croydon town centre and, in theory, make profits for both the council and the private company. The ultimate value of the vehicle has been estimated at £450m.

Councillor Tim Pollard, a fan of the arena development, said:

"We have to make better use of our assets. The Government White Paper has been encouraging councils to look to their assets and make sure they are sweating them. In this kind of deal it makes a lot of sense for us to put in our assets and the private sector to put in the equity."

I am most certainly in favour of the council making the most of its, sorry, our assets. However, given the lamentable shortcomings demonstrated so far with regard to the "regeneration" of Croydon (eg the arena) are the council actually capable of making a success of this?