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Croydon Council CEO issues warning over government funding

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Government policy on finance is the biggest threat to Croydon’s redevelopment moving forward.

Jo Negrini, chief executive of Croydon Council, told the London Real Estate Forum, a two-day show sponsored by Virgin Media at Berkeley Square in London: “We [Croydon] don’t have a medium-term financial strategy.”

She explained this was because of uncertainty over government policy and local government finance including the business rate deregulation.

And that this might affect Croydon as a local authority and a business – with a turnover of £1billion, a large investment portfolio and as the borough’s largest landowner – in the derisking of development.

She told delegates: “We are most concerned with what is going to happen in government policy and finance. What’s going to happen to our base to help you derisk your schemes?”

However, Croydon was fortunate, she added, to have an Article 4 direction, restricting permitted development in the metropolitan centre, and to have secured investment through being designated a growth zone.

She added: “In the last 12 months, we are getting a lot of serious investors especially Americans, interested in PRS and people are talking to us about mixed use again.”

In response to a question from a delegate, she said that local authorities including Croydon were becoming more “proactive and aggressive” in pulling together planning applications and implementing compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) on sites where schemes aren’t happening.