The Croydon Guardian broke the news on 5th January:
‘Nestle has confirmed it is leaving Croydon after 47 years.’
After almost half a century at St George’s House, Park Lane, the move has caused quite a stir amongst local residents, and Londoners in general, as news emerged of the loss of such an integral Croydon landmark.
‘The Swiss firm said it would be relocating its 840 office based employees by the end of 2012′ to a new office in Crawley for the good of the company.
And whilst ‘Paul Grimwood, Nestlé UK & Ireland Chairman and CEO, said: ‘This move represents an exciting new chapter for Nestlé in the UK.’ Croydon Council understandably had a less optimistic view:
‘We are obviously very disappointed that Nestlé has decided to leave the borough after more than 40 years.’
Inside Croydon reported on matters in a slightly franker fashion: ‘The signs at East Croydon Station that declare it to be “the home of Nestle UK” are going to need changing’ they wrote, adding a sobering prediction for the area in the aftermath of such an influential move:
‘Nestle’s move is likely to have a devastating effect on local businesses which service the Nestle Tower and its staff. Croydon’s voluntary groups, sports clubs and charities will also be hit, as the company was often a generous contributor to their funds.’
There is clearly a high level of concern for the local community in light of the inevitable knock on effects. But this news hasn’t come as a total shock, with an inkling for such a decision apparent for some time now. Back in September 2011, ‘Tony Newman, the leader of the opposition Labour group at the Town Hall, described even the possibility that Nestle might leave Croydon as “totally devastating news”.’
On Twitter, ‘Croydon feed‘ – ‘Croydon’s Twitter community newsletter’ – opted for humour, albeit of a fairly dark variety: ‘Nestle should give everyone in Croydon a free Kit Kat as a leaving present’. There has been no indication so far that Nestle plan to adopt this strategy.
Through her online diary, conservative activist Clare Hilley seemed determined to stay upbeat on the issue, looking past the initial disappointment and towards the potential the future holds instead:
‘Whilst this is disappointing news if we continue to focus on regenerating the town centre then we will be able to attract potential investors, creating a place where people want to live and an economy that links outer London to Gatwick and the world.’
It remains to be seen whether others in the local community will be able to muster the same levels of enthusiasm in the wake of the decision, but there undoubtedly remain reasons for optimism for Croydon.
What are your thoughts on the issue?