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Croydon regeneration project 'transformed lives', says council

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A CONTENTIOUS regeneration project – including the construction of the council's new headquarters – has "transformed lives" in Croydon, the council has claimed.

The authority says small and medium businesses have been awarded £7 million of contracts as a result of its Urban Regeneration Vehicle (URV).

As part of the its 28-year partnership with developer John Laing, worth £450 million, the council put publicly-owned land and assets into the deal, including its current home at Taberner House, while Laing offered the funding and building expertise for Bernard Weatherill House, its new headquarters.

While the company has first refusal on any council assets, the authority retains a 50 per cent share of the development profits.

The deal led to fierce arguments between Labour and the Tory-controlled council over how much it will cost the taxpayer and the reliance on unpredictable future returns.

The URV's annual report was approved during a cabinet meeting at the town hall this week, with the council praising the scheme for creating 41 apprenticeships and exceeding targets on job creation for local people.

Jason Perry, cabinet member for planning, said the URV was beginning to produce "real results".

Simon Hall, Labour's spokesman for finance, was unconvinced.

He said: "The fact is, at the moment, cash is going out of the door.

"While there might be an upside one day, what is definite is that tens of millions of pounds are going out of the door with the returns being very much uncertain."

Cllr Perry decried Labour's negativity: "Here we have real positive work for the people of Croydon and all we get is negative soundbites.

"Negative spin is all we hear, yet you won't talk about the £7 million going to local businesses.

"That's real money dished out to deliver these schemes for local people."

Bernard Wetherill House will be finished next year and people have already started to move into the 119 affordable homes built under the URV in Waddon. An adjoining leisure centre will open early next year.

Croydon regeneration project 'transformed lives', says council


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