Will Alsop's masterplan for the transformation of Croydon will feature a 30-storey 'vertical Eden Project'

Will Alsop has unveiled his twenty-year vision for Croydon.

The scheme, entitled Third City, boasts as its centrepiece a 30-storey ‘vertical Eden Project’ with rainforest vegetation, intended as a major tourist destination for the South London suburb.

The plan will also bring the River Wandle, long buried underground, to the surface as a series of waterways and lagoons. Tree-lined walkways will link glass apartment blocks on the main street, Wellesley Road, and the new centre will be ringed by a “green link” of parks, squares and pathways.

The scheme includes 20,000 homes as well as dozens of public squares and miniature parks. It is thought the project could boost the town centre’s population from 5,000 to 50,000.

The project will kick off with a £450m urban regeneration scheme set up by the local council. Around £3.5bn from private investors is intended to pay for additional projects including an arena and a 44-storey residential tower

Speaking at the launch, Alsop said: “There is an extraordinary spirit in Croydon. The notion of experience here is very powerful, and intense and entertaining. The people here love Croydon, but they also recognise it could be better.”

Tim Pollard, Croydon councillor for regeneration and economic development, said: “Even in their formative stages, Will Alsop’s concepts appear to have already captured enthusiasm among developers, investors, businesses and stakeholders.”

Croydon Council want to make their town London’s third city after Westminster and the City of London.