The developers hoping to push forward with a £1bn redevelopment of Croydon town centre have bought out one of the main objectors to the scheme.

Croydon Partnership, the joint venture between Westfield and Hammerson, has announced today it has acquired Whitgift Trust’s 50 per cent long leasehold in the Whitgift Centre.

The sale, for an undisclosed sum, gives the Partnership ownership of the shopping centre, alongside its freehold owner, the Whitgift Foundation, and direct management control.

It now owns or controls a majority of the major land interests required for the proposed development in Croydon town centre.

This development will include a brand new shopping centre where the Whitgift Centre is, homes, offices and leisure facilities.

The completion of the sale comes after the compulsory purchase order inquiry into the development closed on March 13.

During the inquiry the planning inspector Paul Griffiths heard from objectors including the Whitgift Trust, which said the development would not be viable.

The result of the inquiry is expected to be confirmed by the Secretary of State around autumn this year.

The Partnership is continuing to negotiate with other landowners to buy up the land needed for the scheme.

As well as objecting to the development at the CPO inquiry the Whitgift Trust had been fighting against it in the High Court.

This fight came to an end on February 12 when it was in the Court of Appeal to try and get permission to appeal against a decision made by Mr Justice Collins in the High Court last November.

Back then he told the trust that questions about the viability of the housing part of the scheme would not have been relevant in deciding whether or not to grant planning consent.

The trust then asked the Court of Appeal to grant permission to appeal against the planning permission on limited grounds.

This was refused.

Whitgift Trust is completely unconnected to the Whitgift Foundation charity.

The Whitgift Foundation owns the freehold of the Whitgift Centre and is wholly supportive of the Partnership’s plan to transform Croydon town centre.

Councillor Alison Butler, cabinet member for homes and regeneration, said: “This is great news for Croydon and represents a significant step forward in the regeneration of the town centre.

“It improves the deliverability of the scheme, as it means the Partnership now owns or controls a majority of the major land interests required for the development.

“We can now really focus on building up the momentum behind transforming Croydon’s retail centre.

“Our job now is to ensure that this is the catalyst for providing more homes and creating new jobs for our residents.”