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Croydon's district centres, including 'neglected' South Norwood, set for a makeover

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NEW moves to help the regenerate the borough's district centres are to get under way next month.

Councillor Toni Letts, the council's cabinet member for economic development, is to hold a series of meetings with traders and businesses to get ideas of how they feel the areas can be helped to prosper.

Separately, she is planning to meet with larger companies and potential investors to show what the town has to offer, in a drive to attract more inward investment.

One idea the council is thinking about is developing a long-term business plan for the town centre.

The first of the district centre meetings will take place in Norbury in September, followed by South Norwood in October.

Meetings in other centres like Purley, Coulsdon, New Addington and Upper Norwood will come at later dates.

Cllr Letts said money, some of it from the Mayor of London's fund set up after the 2011 riots, has already been channelled into London Road, West Croydon.

Public realm improvements to make the area more attractive are planned and this month 45 businesses are being provided with new shop fronts.

She said: "We also have an estate agent now and that is a sign of an area starting to pick up."

Cllr Letts said district centres were vitally important to the future of the borough and she was determined the council would do what it could to help them thrive.

Cllr Letts said: "We will be going to each district centre to talk to local businesses and leading people in the community about what they want.

"I may have one vision of what I would like to see, but they may have another and I have to find out their views. There has to be a real partnership here.

"How district centres worked 20 or 30 years ago is perhaps not how they should be today."

Cllr Letts suggested district centres may need to become more of a community hub, with businesses meeting more of the needs of people living in their areas.

She said: "For example, we are a borough with a great many people who don't go into the town centre very often."

District centres, she said, should play an important part in catering for their needs in terms of shops and also offering an environment where people could "pop in for a coffee and meet to have a chat".

Cllr Letts emphasised it was essential that districts shared in the prosperity which developments like the Westfield/Hammerson Partnership's £1 billion investment in the town centre would bring.

She said South Norwood High Street, in particular, was looking very tired and needed attention.

Her intention was to bring together businesses in the High Street and in neighbouring Portland Road to look at ways of making improvements to the area as a whole.

Cllr Letts said: "I think the district centres have been neglected in the past. We want to stop that."

Croydon's district centres, including 'neglected' South Norwood, set for a makeover


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