CROYDON RIOTS: Retail giant Hammerson explains interest in the town

Wimbledon Guardian: David Atkins, Hammerson chief executive David Atkins, Hammerson chief executive

David Atkins, chief executive, Centrale's owners Hammerson said: "I shared the horror of the people of Croydon watching the terrible scenes of last August’s riots.

Broken windows are easily fixed, but the impact on the individuals whose homes and businesses were affected will take much longer to heal.

After an event of that magnitude, it inevitably takes time for the reputation of a town to recover.

Sometimes people I meet are surprised to find that Hammerson is keen to invest more in Croydon, by extending Centrale and redeveloping the Whitgift Centre.

Yet our belief in Croydon is stronger than ever.

You don’t need a particularly long memory to recall when Croydon was South London’s very own version of the West End, and all the attributes which made it a great retail centre are still there.

We’ve spent a lot of time talking to the people of Croydon to find out what they want from their town centre.

What we hear is that people like the variety of shops and the excellent transport links, but they don’t feel the environment is safe or welcoming.

The amazing response of the people of Croydon to the riots showed what this town is really made of. It’s a place we’re committed to, and somewhere we’re confident we can help build a bright future."

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