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EXCLUSIVE: Croydon Visitor Centre to close in May

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THE Croydon Visitor Centre, which has provided help and information to more than 700,000 people, is to close in May.

Croydon Business Improvement District (BID) is taking the decision after being served notice by developers Stanhope/Schroder's, which is using the land next to East Croydon Station for its major Ruskin Square development.

The six staff at the centre, which opened in 2008, have been informed.

Matthew Sims, chief executive of the BID, admitted the closure was "sad" but said the organisation had to increasingly reflect the "changing environment and dynamic" of the town, as the Westfield/Hammerson development nears.

He said the BID would continue to provide "information, advice and guidance" but in a different format.

Mr Sims told the Advertiser: "It [the visitor centre] has served in excess of 700,000 people and is an incredibly high quality service.

"It is sad but it is also important to look at what the BID is doing and the challenges it faces as we enter this development period

"Croydon is changing at a phenomenal rate and we need to make sure what we offer as a BID suits our members."

As well as its information function, the centre also sold tickets for transport and West End shows, and provided exhibition space for local businesses and organisations.

It was nominated in the Best Business for Hospitality, Leisure, Travel & Tourism category at last year's Croydon Business Awards.

The centre will close on May 1, at which point Mr Sims said the BID's attention would turn to helping the town cope with the disruption caused while the £1.5 billion redevelopment of the town centre is undertaken.

He ruled out opening another visitor centre in the future at a different site, adding: "This is a new era and it needs to be looked at that way."

Work is already under way on the Ruskin Square development, which will include 625 homes, 1.25 million sq ft of offices and 100,000 sq ft of shops, cafes and restaurants.

Croydon BID represents the interests of around 580 organisations in the town centre.

It faces a ballot in 2016, where businesses with a rateable value of £40,000 or more a year have the chance to vote for whether the BID should be given another five-year term to serve the area.

EXCLUSIVE: Croydon Visitor Centre to close in May


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