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Westfield chief admits: 'We want John Lewis in Croydon'

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DEVELOPERS are already working to woo John Lewis into becoming the centrepiece of the new Whitgift Centre.

Westfield's development director, John Burton, told the Advertiser bringing John Lewis in had always been a key aim.

The company has a store in Westfield's Stratford shopping centre and earlier this month signed a deal to open at the Shepherd's Bush site.

The partnership now wants to make sure it does not miss out in Croydon but Mr Burton made it plain that attracting John Lewis was not going to be simple.

John Lewis, he said, would look hard at the environment around where it wanted to open, the education provision, cultural mix and importantly the safety and security of an area.

Mr Burton added: "We will need very strong support from the council and other key figures in the town, including the police, if we are to be successful."

A spokeswoman for John Lewis – which has an At Home store in Purley Way, Croydon – said this week: "We have expressed an interest in opening a full line store in Croydon and that is still our position."

The partnership will now start drawing up specifications of the Whitgift redevelopment, working with existing freehold and leasehold owners to allow a transition of ownership.

Mr Burton said the council was expected to pass the necessary regulations allowing the issuing of compulsory purchase orders by mid-January, followed by a public inquiry.

This will deal with any outstanding land ownership disputes but Mr Burton said: "I am confident that by then we will already have deals with 98 per cent of the people involved."

Westfield chief admits: 'We want John Lewis in Croydon'


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