By Harrison Galliven, Local Democracy Reporter
Croydon council has been awarded almost £18.5million from the latest round of funding from the Department for Levelling Up.
This funding was secured for a bid to support the council’s ‘Reconnected Croydon’ plan, which was launched for the previous round of funding last year.
According to Jacob Young MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Levelling Up, Croydon’s bid was deemed high-quality and ready to deliver.
It was picked from the pool of the previous round of bids, £3.8billion has already been awarded to more 200 projects across the UK over the previous two rounds.
When will Croydon receive the funding?
While the announcement that Croydon will receive £18,488,777 has brought excitement to the borough, it will not get the money straight away.
According to the letter sent to Croydon officials by the Department for Levelling Up, the bid will undergo a short validation check to measure for inflation and judge whether the plans have changed.
The check will also determine whether the Reconnected Croydon Plan still represents value for money and can be delivered by the target date of March 2026.
How will it be spent?
Reconnect Croydon is a multi-faceted plan to regenerate the town centre.
Croydon residents feel their town centre is “run down” and that the “glitzy new high-rises” have not benefited them.
In an effort to address these types of concerns, the council has published a plan to improve the intervention areas that make up central Croydon.
Old Town – £3.9million planned spend
While the plan’s details are vague, they promise better walking and cycling routes around the busy Old Town area, which includes Croydon Minster, the six lane Roman road highway the town hall. There will also be upgrades made to the public realm as well as improved east to west connectivity along the
Fairfield – £11.8million planned spend
Improvements are to be made to walking and cycling routes in the area around Croydon College and Fairfield Halls. There will also be increased greenery in the public spaces nearby.
Wellesley Road – £1.4million planned spend
The busy A212 that splits East and West Croydon will also see increased greenery along the roadside. The lack of trees along this road is noticeable and has long been a complaint of local residents and visitors alike. The road will also benefit from improved walking and cycling routes.
East Croydon – £500,000 planned spend
Along with improved walking and cycling lanes, East Croydon will also see new bus priority lanes implemented and investment in the public realm. Perhaps the most heavily developed area in recent years, East Croydon is already seeing the creation of the new Ruskin Square. This area will soon become the home of both HMRC and the Home Office.
West Croydon – £700,000 planned spend
The plans promise investment into West Croydon’s “connectivity” alongside familiar promises to improve walking, cycling and public spaces.
South End to North End – £700,000 planned spend
Croydon’s extended high street, which sees the area’s largest daily footfall, will also see improved walking routes. Unlike the other intervention areas, this will see improved co-designed public spaces which accommodate the diversity of the borough’s residents. It will also see improved way finding, presumably in the way of more signage.
What has the reaction been?
Given Croydon’s history, reaction has been varied. The borough has previously been promised £1.4billion in a large-scale investment from the Westfield shopping centre chain.
But it has been over a decade since the announcement and the plans have still yet to fully materialise. However, this latest funding announcement, while much smaller than the Westfield deal, is more transparent and comes with the obligation that it must be delivered by the March 2026 deadline.
In a statement following the announcement, Mayor Jason Perry said: “I’m delighted we have been successful in the Levelling Up Fund, round three. Our impressive bid submitted at round two has been assessed as high quality and ready to deliver. This will be a huge boost for Croydon Town Centre and will form part of my determination to restoring pride in our community, reconnect and regenerate Croydon.”
However, Croydon Central MP Sarah Jones said: “Despite this win, councils have been starved of resources over the last decade. We need longer term funding settlements for local governments, instead of pitting one area of our country against another through these expensive rounds of bids.”
She added: “I am concerned that costs will have risen considerably since the bid was put in given rapidly rising inflation, and would like guarantees from the government that the plans will still be deliverable.”
Pictured top: North End the main high street in Croydon (Picture: Tara O’Connor)
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