THE Whitgift Centre will close completely for almost three years if Westfield/Hammerson's scheme is given the green light by planning inspectors.
The Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) inquiry into the proposed £1.5 billion development heard today (Wednesday) the phased construction plans had changed.
The Croydon Partnership now hopes to commence demolition works on the Allders site and the towers above the Whitgift Centre in 12 months' time.
It then plans to close the centre completely some six months after these initial demolition works and remain closed for 34 months, with no access to shoppers.
John Burton told the inquiry this was partly because opening the new development in one go had "the maximum impact".
Only Marks and Spencer would remain open while other tenants within the centre will be offered help relocating, either to Centrale or other parts of the town centre.
This is a change from what was previously thought would be a phased demolition of the centre, allowing parts of it to remain open for business while construction took place.
The objection of Jonathan Graham, head of Sainsbury's location planning department, was read out at the inquiry today.
It states that the new phasing is significantly different to what was in the original planning document, which indicated it would be possible for Sainsbury's to be relocated within the Whitgift Centre.
The tentative opening date for the new development is October 2019.