Jo Negrini believes the “attitude” of the residents and people working in the borough is the main reason for Croydon’s remarkable transformation in recent years.
The Chief Executive of Croydon Council was speaking at a brunch event at MIPIM – the world’s largest real estate exhibition – in Cannes last week.
Recalling a conversation she had had earlier in the week, Negrini said Croydon was “unique” in relation to the other London boroughs.
“The USP to Croydon is it’s absolutely unique in London,” she said. “There’s nothing like it and actually it’s not like we’re going to be a Barcelona, we’re not going to be a Copenhagen, we are going to be unique because there is no other place like Croydon.
“It’s all to do with attitude. Yes, we are the largest commercial centre outside of central London and yes, we are the largest metropolitan centre outside of central London and we do want to be that place and we are definitely being that place.
“But the thing that really strikes me about Croydon, it has such an attitude and a freshness and it permeates through everything.
“When we didn’t win Borough of Culture the attitude was like ‘we don’t need anyone to tell us we are a borough of culture, we are one anyway’ and that’s a really, really important aspect to me.
“People in Croydon say to themselves – ‘well we’re going to do it on our own’. And, actually, when I think about the journey over the last couple of years we have done it on our own – all the work around the growth zone, only borough talking about infrastructure, only borough that has got infrastructure funding in place to actually grow the right way, and everyone is talking about homes at the moment but actually we’ve got the complete picture.”
Negrini went on to outline all the exciting developments that have begun to come to fruition over the past year, including: HMRC moving 2,500 new staff into Ruskin Square, planning applications approved for Westfield / Hammerson and One Lansdowne, Phase I of Menta’s Morello Quarter scheme completed, planning submitted for the redevelopment of Crystal Palace’s Selhurst Park stadium and the tallest modular tower in the world starting on-site at 101 George Street.
“In terms of what’s happening it actually cuts across everything from culture to infrastructure to occupation, physical redevelopment, a lot of what is happening is centring on all of that,” she said.
“And what sets us all apart is the attitude, it is the attitude if the people of Croydon. We are starting to get some traction now and lots of high quality developers are coming to us now, we demand the best, we want the best and we are getting the best.”