Croydon Council has announced plans for a £1.4bn shopping mall in the centre of the borough, replacing the existing Whitgift Centre. The work to demolish the current shopping centre will begin in 2018, with 2022 being the proposed opening year for the new mall. The new development will be the third Westfield shopping centre in London, housing shops, restaurants and leisure facilities.
As well as rejuvenating the reputation of the borough, the centre will also provide approximately 7,000 jobs across various sectors – there’s space for approximately 110 shops and restaurants within the development that will require staff, not to mention security and maintenance positions that will need to be filled.
As well as the jobs available within the centre, the work that will go into constructing the building may need skilled individuals to provide their expertise. With this in mind, Croydon Council is offering residents of Shirley’s Shrublands estate the opportunity to participate in free construction training. The courses are designed to give participants the necessary skills to find work on large construction projects in the area, including the development of the new Westfield centre.
Manju Shahul-Hameed, Croydon Council’s cabinet member for economy and jobs said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for local residents to not only gain new skills, but to potentially also get a job that would get them personally involved in the delivery of one of the many major construction projects currently underway in Croydon. It’s also the perfect stepping stone for anyone looking to start a career in construction.”
In 2016, Westfield announced that its White City shopping centre, which opened in 2008, achieved sales of £996m over the year, thanks to a footfall of 27.3m. The Stratford City Westfield centre achieved an even larger £1.15bn of sales through 47m footfall.
Another benefit of Croydon being the chosen location for Westfield’s latest expansion is that it’ll attract more people to the area. Stratford has become something of a tourist destination because of the Westfield centre – its immense popularity means that London locals and visitors from afar flock to the area, which is only a good thing for the region. Once completed, the new Westfield centre will attract shoppers in their thousands to Croydon.
The existing Whitgift Shopping Centre will undergo demolition works starting this year, and within the next three years, the gleaming Westfield Centre will be up and running. It will be a revolutionary addition to Croydon, and it will be interesting to see the impact it has on the local community and further afield.
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