MINERVA has slammed the council after a planning committee approved Westfield and Hammerson's £1b town centre regeneration project. The company, the landlord for the Allders building, raised late objections to the plan before it was given the go-ahead this evening (Monday). In a statement released after the approval, a Minerva spokesperson said: "Today's decision shows a clear disregard for the interests and concerns of local stakeholders in Croydon. "This decision has been made hurriedly, with the council failing to adequately address significant objections and concerns in their report to the Strategic Planning Committee. "It is in the interests of Croydon that a comprehensive and sustainable solution to regenerate the whole of the town centre is found, but this decision fails to achieve this and risks constraining any future growth and investment plans. "The delivery of the development also remains inherently uncertain as Westfield and Hammerson do not own the whole application site and have not engaged in any constructive dialogue with the landowners." William Hicks QC represented Minerva at the Strategic Planning Committee. He said the scheme's 113,920 sq metres of parking spaces would make it "very difficult to provide future regeneration schemes in Croydon". He claimed the tram network would require significant alterations, adding: "My overall conclusion is I urge you not to determine today. More time will lead to better development, criticisms to be addressed and reduce the risk of legal challenge." Eagle Croydon Centre, landlords of the Whitgift and Allders car parks, "strongly urged" the committee to reject the application because there had not been a "proper and full consultation". But the panel unanimously voted in favour of granting conservation area and outline planning consent. The Allders building is currently occupied by department store Croydon Village outlet, which has struggled since opening in September.
More Pages to Explore .....