Spotlight on Croydon
With über-cool Boxpark for food and gigs, thousands of new flats and Westfield on the way, this town’s shapeshifting again. By
REINVENTION is the name of the game in the south London town of Croydon. The Sixties saw a highway lined with office blocks run through the town centre, the arrival of the Whitgift Centre shopping mall and the opening of a major cultural centre, the Fairfield Halls.
Tramlink, opened in the Seventies, remains the only tram service in the South-East. Now Croydon is shapeshifting again, with a £5.25 billion regeneration bringing thousands of new flats including some of the country’s tallest residential towers — the 43-storey sparkling pink-and-purple Saffron Square tower is now a new local landmark.
As the town awaits its long-promised £1.4 billion Westfield mall, which will eventually transform the Whitgift and Centrale shopping centres, the food, drinks and events destination that is Boxpark Croydon has arrived to enliven the town. One of the most exciting Boxpark, right, the exciting new destination close to East Croydon station
popular Surrey Street Market opens daily, with the Sunday emphasis on arts & crafts, artisan products, and vintage
Kevin ZuchowskiMorrison owns RISEgallery, specialists in Pop art and urban contemporary works, including Warhol and Banksy developments Croydon has seen in years, it opened in October last year next door to East Croydon station with its superb fast central London trains.
Housed in 80 refashioned shipping containers and modelled on Boxpark Shoreditch, Boxpark Croydon is home to restaurants, bars and gigs in a pop-up that will eventually be demolished for the huge Ruskin Square regeneration scheme. Until then, the residents of south London are able to eat their way around the world with food from Mexico, Taiwan, Brazil, Spain and the Caribbean, while they sit just nine miles south of central London.
Estate agent Ashley Whitehouse, from the local branch of Foxtons, admits the town got a bad name after the riots of 2011, when one of the defining moments of those tense days was the sight of a woman leaping from her burning flat close to the blazing House of Reeves furniture store in West Croydon.
However, he stresses there is no doubt that these are days of exciting change. “Boxpark has transformed the town’s nightlife and with the eventual arrival of Westfield, residents are looking forward to having one of the best shopping centres in the South-East.
“At the same time house hunters are getting over their phobia of the town and realising it has a great future and represents value for money, with many first-time buyers giving Croydon the thumbs up.”
Food, drink and entertainment: Far left: Left: