Creating a self-sustaining Croydon is a key part of the borough’s strategy according to council chief executive Jo Negrini.
Responding to questions from Develop Croydon chair Mark Easton at the seventh annual summit, Ms Negrini said that capital as a whole would benefit if Croydon became more than a dormitory suburb with employment and cultural opportunities in addition to a residential offer.
Ms Negrini accepted that many residents would continue to use the 15-minute train ride into the city but added: “We want to give people the option, don’t we?
“What’s great about the jobs that are coming through – and the HMRC is a really good example of this – is that historically the big companies have had their backroom jobs here.
“The HMRC are bringing their tax inspectors. What we’re talking about is really high-grade good quality jobs, that commuters are used to going to the centre of London for. The same with Body Shop.”
And Ms Negrini believes creating an environment where people can live, work and spend their leisure time was key to stop Croydon from becoming a dormitory town.
“It’s all about creating that eco-system so you can do everything here – and for London that’s a really good proposition,” she added.
“Croydon is the largest borough in London, we’re called the growth borough, we’ve got more capacity to grow in Croydon than any other London borough. It has been attempting to have city status in the past but in some ways we are the city within the city.
“We’re not so much a separate city – we are a lot more part of London now, probably than we were five years ago because London needs somewhere to grow. And it has to be good growth – it’s not growth for the sake of it.
“And I don’t think outer London’s role is to feed the beast of central London and create a place for it to bleed into. The important thing about Croydon is it’s a whole ecosystem: it’s about living but it’s also about working, and playing and having fun.
“The culture proposition is so important to what we are trying to achieve.”