The summer riots of 2011 devastated many parts of the UK, including Croydon, where images of the Reeves family store burning to the ground broadcast across the country. The riots left many families homeless and local businesses destroyed, but from this devastation came an unprecedented wave of community optimism. Hundreds of volunteers from the local community came out to clean up the streets, help businesses get back on track, and the Conservative-run Council provided loans and support to get Croydon back on track.
Since then, the Conservative group has strived to regenerate the town, improving its infrastructure and keeping Council tax low for hard working families. We’re delivering a state-of-the art leisure centre in Waddon, the ward that I represent, to create a genuine Olympic legacy and regenerating the area in and around East Croydon station that will market the town as a vibrant and confident place to live and work, with first class transport links to all major train stations in Central London and easy access to some of the finest retail services in the world.
The announcement of a £1 billion investment to transform Croydon’s town centre into a world leading retail hub partnership between Hammerson and Westfield is the latest in a long line of achievements since the riots. Croydon has already secured £23 million from Boris Johnson to improve the local area, critical funding to transform the area and create jobs.
Croydon’s new retail hub is expected to attract some of the world’s most prestigious brands, attracting an estimated 1.2 million visitors. This will provide a much-needed boost to local tourism and encourage larger businesses to move to Croydon to launch and expand their businesses. Hundreds of new shops, cafes, restaurants are proposed within the town centre plans, creating thousands of new jobs and regenerating the whole area.
Croydon is a town rich in history, yet at the same time diverse and forward looking. Equipped with some of the world’s leading brands, retail outlets, businesses, and transport services, making it a
perfect target for investors and entrepreneurs.
Croydon should not be judged by the summer riots, but on how it responded to them. A zero tolerance approach towards vandalism coupled with an instant, positive response from the community to repair the damage and get Croydon get back on track are the actions of a town confident in itself and ready to show the rest of the UK what it’s made of.
A mixture of optimism and community action, enforced by a pro-business agenda is taking Croydon to new levels of success. It’s time for UK businesses to look again at Croydon, reap the benefits of our growing retail hub and recognise that our transport connections make us the gateway to London. The door is open, and it’s time for British businesses to walk through it.