Stanhope reveals plan for Croydon urban park even though site has been given planning permission for mixed use Arrowcroft scheme.

Unabashed by threats of compulsory purchase by the local council, Stanhope and Schroders unveiled plans for an urban park twice the size of Trafalgar Square in Croydon last week.

The developer, who own the derelict Croydon Gateway site next to East Croydon Station, has based its plans on the results of a Mori poll that found 57% of people questioned were in favour of a park being built on the site.

Despite the apparent local enthusiasm however, the plans are contrary to an Arrowcroft scheme for the site, including a 12,500-seat arena, which already has planning permission.

Croydon council wants to make the inclusion of an arena a requirement for any redevelopment of the Croydon Gateway area. If it chooses the Arrowcroft scheme, the council will have to use its compulsory purchase powers to buy the land from Stanhope.

Stanhope’s proposed scheme centres around a glass-roofed Winter Garden and a new home for the Warehouse Theatre. It would also include a 24-storey office block, 560 residential flats – of which 40% would be affordable housing – a health club, cafes and restaurants.

The firm says that if it can overcome any obstacles to being granted planning permission it could complete the development by 2007. A decision is unlikely to be made until after a public enquiry into all future developments in the borough, which is due to begin in February 2005.