‘Growth Zone’ plans backed by George Osborne

Artist's rendition of Croydon in 2020. Pic: Croydon Council

Artist’s rendition of Croydon in 2020. Pic: Croydon Council

Chancellor George Osborne has announced he will support plans for a ‘Growth Zone’ in Croydon as part of a larger regeneration plan happening in the borough.

The scheme involves collecting local taxes from a stamp duty pilot, which is estimated at £100 million in the next 20 years, to accelerate major regeneration projects.

It also includes the collection of retention of all business state rates of £30 million per annum, and bonuses from newly built homes of £50 million by 2031.

Croydon Council had previously asked the government to grant devolution powers, meaning that the area would benefit from more direct funding from local people and businesses.

Discussions began in autumn last year, but it was officially confirmed on February 23.

Leader of Croydon Council, Councillor Tony Newman, said: “I am delighted that the Chancellor has highlighted Croydon’s importance to London. By supporting Croydon’s case to become a growth zone, [he] recognises the important role this borough can play in London’s long-term economic plan.”

Steve Reed, MP for Croydon North, said: “The council is committed to ensuring that this growth delivers benefits for all those that live, work and invest in Croydon.”

Osborne gave a speech at the Tate Modern on February 20, highlighting a six-point economic plan for London.

He said: “Attracting investment and improving connectivity are vital for helping businesses large and small to create more jobs here in London. We’re not going to find the people to do these jobs unless we also provide more homes in this city.”

The news follows the announcement of a £5.25 billion regeneration programme for Croydon, which promises 24,000 new jobs and 9,000 new homes for the borough by 2031.

Boris Johnson, who was also present at the Chancellor’s speech, has already put £23 million towards the scheme.

He said: “Top of my agenda is support for hardworking Londoners and today’s confirmation of plans to stimulate new jobs, major improvements to our transport systems, the opening up of new sites for housing, and moves to improve skills are all huge wins for our city.”

One element of the programme, due to be completed in the next few years, is the redevelopment of the borough’s two shopping centres: the Whitgift and the Centrale.

The prospectus for the entire regeneration plan, alongside the “Growth Zone” aspect, can be accessed and downloaded here.

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