Croydon record retailer reports on empty shops and the declining footfall of people visiting the town

Local Government Reporter

Shoppers are abandoning a mall because of delays in revamping it, a trader says.

There has been a ‘horrible decline’ in the numbers of people visiting Croydon town centre, according to Duncan Barnes, who runs 101 Records, which moved to North End, Croydon in 1991, from East Croydon station.

He claimed 10 years ago empty shops in Croydon were unheard of – but there are plenty today.

Mr Barnes said: “Footfall has dipped horribly in Croydon for years. It used to be a thriving cosmopolitan place and it was always busy.”

And he believes delays in building a Westfield Shopping Centre are partly to blame and does not think the £1bn shopping centre will ever be built.

He added: “North End has been declining for years and very little has been done about it.

“It is frustrating. The writing has been on the wall for a long time. It is frustrating that the council and the partnership seem to have two speeds – dead slow and complete still.”

On November 1, the Croydon Partnership, a joint venture between Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield and Hammerson announced that plans for the shopping centre could be different from what was originally planned.

The team behind the regeneration had a meeting with Croydon council, at which it was revealed that a hotel, more offices and fewer parking spaces and more co-working office spaces could all be a feature of the revised plans.

Council leader Tony Newman described the meeting as “encouraging,” and said the changes are more sustainable.

The Croydon Partnership said it would continue to “invest and improve” the town centre while a revised scheme is worked on.

And Mr Barnes thinks more needs to be done to encourage people to shop in Croydon.

He said: “They need to get traders into empty shops and tidy up North End to make it attractive.

“I think the partnership should get a group of positive-minded retailers together – we are all here for one reason, to make a living.

“I am in my early 60s but I’m not planning to retire just yet. Running a shop is an expensive business and I make far more on the internet.

“I like running a shop, there are plenty of shoppers who want to browse.”

But, like many in Croydon, Mr Barnes is not convinced that the scheme, which has faced a number of delays, will happen at all.

He added: “I personally don’t see Westfield happening. Initially there was a lot of enthusiasm for it – Croydon has been crying out for something to be done.

“But after a while, and promises and promises, you realise nothing is going to happen.
“I am still for something happening, but after the meeting, I can’t help thinking we will be having this conversation in a year’s time.”

A spokesman for the Croydon Partnership said that it was working on plans to improve the town centre, but added that footfall in Croydon is up compared to last year.

The spokesman said: “We are working closely with both the Croydon Business Improvement District and the council to deliver a range of measures to help increase footfall, improve the environment and introduce more activity in the town centre.

These initiatives include engaging with local charities and community groups to utilise space for events and activities, delivering activity in key parts of the centres, renovations including enhanced lighting, improvements to signage and display windows in the former Allders building.

“We are committed to making the town centre an attractive destination for shoppers and visitors, and the latest data shows footfall in the town centre is up 2.6 per cent on last year.

This compares favourably to the rest of London and the UK, which is down 1.5 per cent.”

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.

Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing:


If you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can make a donation which will allow us to continue to bring stories to you, both in print and online. Or please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ

3 thoughts on “Croydon record retailer reports on empty shops and the declining footfall of people visiting the town

  • Jay Willis

    This is a blow for Croydon, yet know one believed that the Westfied was coming to Croydon , who needs more hotels, as for parking that’s the biggest money making for Croydon- yet Croydon still looks Rundown. Yes Fairfield Hall is Bright but around the corner is lower addiscome Not touch Shaby Dark

  • R Luckhurst

    The Council selling off the Carparks didn’t help, £4 pounds for two hours,people are ordering on line, no journey, no parking charges, what’s not to like?
    The Council needs to buy back the carparks, and have some control to attract more of the public and make it less of a nightmare. Make it certain times or days to get more people in?

  • Chris Jones

    Why go to Croydon and pay exhorbitant parking charges? Especially when there’s nothing out of the ordinary there anyway.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.