Croydon, A Centre For Growth?

Croydon is London’s southern-most borough, covering an area of 87 square kilometres. But it has come a long way since being mentioned in the 1086 Doomsday Book as a market town with a population of 365, a church and a mill.

Fast forward a millennia to 2016, and after decades of significant resource being pumped into its regeneration, Croydon was the UK’s fastest growing economy, topping the list of 173 regions with an annual GVA growth rate of 9.3%[1]. Despite some rougher edges that, like any London borough, occasionally provide bad press, the town had reinvented itself with a growing reputation as a tech and cultural hub to rival central London’s Shoreditch, earning the moniker ‘Silicon Valley of South London’.

 

Today Croydon is a firmly cemented hotspot for culture and technological innovation thanks to an ambitious £5.25bn investment programme which has seen the transformation of this GLA designated ‘Opportunity Area’. A great illustration of this is Fairfield Halls. The concert hall and theatre complex was originally opened in 1962 and has always been a barometer of the town’s progressive nature, hosting the likes of the Beatles, Elton John and David Bowie. Now providing state-of-the-art facilities, the venue’s £42m re-development opened last year. Billed as the ‘Southbank Centre of Croydon’ the complex is hosting the likes of Jimmy Carr, All Star Wrestling, Jools Holland and everything in between.

 

 

 

A further example of Croydon’s cultural status stamp is Boxpark. Billed as a Covent Garden Piazza for the 21st century, the venue uses old shipping containers to provide almost every cuisine imaginable under one roof. In addition to food and drink, there’s a 2,000 capacity events space that has hosted the likes of Stormzy, JME and Tim Westward. Like its Wembley and Shoreditch cousins, Boxpark Croydon has a calendar of diverse events that includes art exhibitions, creative workshops, indoor markets and comedy nights.

 

As well as a growing cultural atmosphere, Croydon is arguably one of the UK’s best connected areas, with Central London and Gatwick reachable in only 15 minutes. East Croydon station alone greets over 26k passengers a day and the town boasts the only tram system in London with 39 stations and 27.2 million rides last year[2]. With a population bigger then Iceland – if it was a city it would be the 8th largest in the UK - the town’s commuter catchment area also enjoys 1.1m economically actively people 30 mins travel time away and more than 4 million within 45 minutes[3]

 

As Professor Tony Travers, a director of the London School of Economics, recently put it, “Few places in the UK are as well placed to succeed in the long term than Croydon. Croydon is a thriving economy, equal to many other cities outside of the capital.”[4]

 

It’s not surprising then, that coupled with higher London rental and purchase prices forcing buyers out of inner London Boroughs, Croydon is one of the most attractive places to buy property in London. Even with its 28 new public squares and spaces, a revitalised city centre, world class train station, the latest art, retail and leisure facilities, Croydon is still one of the cheapest places available for those wanting to live in the capital[5]

 

 

[1] CityAM 2016: https://www.cityam.com/london-areas-dominate-list-fastest-growing-economies/#:~:text=Croydon's%20burgeoning%20reputation%20as%20a,accountancy%20group%20UHY%20Hacker%20Young.

[2] Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tramlink

[3] Develop Croydon: https://developcroydon.com/why-croydon/enterprise-and-economy/

[4] https://www.eastlondonlines.co.uk/2019/11/croydons-flourishing-economy-rich-for-development/

[5] Daily Express https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/property/1227937/property-top-cheapest-boroughs-london-to-buy-rent

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