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Croydon regeneration chief says town is nearing its 'Olympic' moment

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THIS is Croydon's Olympics. That's the message from Jo Negrini, as she settles into her role overseeing the borough's £3 billion regeneration.

Croydon's new executive director of development and environment has moved here from a similar role in Newham, where she had responsibility for the 2012 Olympic legacy, which included construction of Westfield Stratford.

Ms Negrini believes Croydon has the potential to outstrip the east London borough because of its "total package" and told delegates at MIPIM 2014, the prestigious international real estate show, that the south London borough's time had arrived.

"If you have a look at all the development taking place, what we have going on in Croydon now is our Olympics," she said.

"It's our time to make it happen. It's a major event and the London Borough of Croydon needs to plan, deliver and treat Croydon like it is a major event. It is not business as usual.

"Perhaps without Westfield and Hammerson's redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre this would still have happened but what that has done for us is accelerated it all."

Ms Negrini highlighted the fact that Croydon already has the required capacity, with plans to build 9,500 new homes over the next five years, as well as the infrastructure in place to fulfil its ambitions.

"Croydon was a fabulous commercial centre in the Sixties and what is absolutely key for us in all of this is that the infrastructure is already there," she said.

"It is not like other parts of London where we are waiting for the infrastructure to catch up with the demand. We have a lot of developers which work in Croydon, as part of our fantastic Develop Croydon partnership, who have hung in there, kept their investment here and made sure they didn't leave until their developments had taken place. That is starting to happen here now.

"We have got Saffron Square, a big Berkeley development, coming out of the ground, we've got Menta launching its residential scheme for which they sold £2.5 million even before its launch, we've got Ruskin Square and – of course – we've got Westfield and Hammerson."

Croydon regeneration chief says town is nearing its 'Olympic' moment


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