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Inspired Series: Interview with Katharine Glass, Managing director at White Label Creative

White Label Creative are an award-winning marketing and events agency known for delivering high quality communications solutions. With a team of 20 specialists, White Label offer integrated marketing, graphic design, brand management, website, PR and events programmes, built around their clients’ needs. Since they are particularly knowledgeable when it comes to Croydon, we thought it made sense for Inspired to have a chat with the lady behind it all…Katherine Glass.

Could you give us a brief overview of the UK residential market currently, referring to trends in London v regional cities?

The housing market here in south London has been booming for some time now. It’s simply a case of supply and demand. People want to live in the capital and as a result prices are constantly being pushed up. Here in Croydon, homes are being snapped up faster than developers can deliver them.

Most of Inspired’s developments are based in Croydon. What is your take on the area and why is it attracting so much investment?

Croydon has always had potential – it has a well-educated workforce, and unrivalled connectivity.  However, for many years that potential was not being realised, which is why White Label was instrumental in forming Develop Croydon in 2010. One of the biggest challenges has been changing perceptions in the town and that has been a gradual process.

The real game changer came in 2013 when Westfield and Hammerson came together on a £1billion-plus investment in regenerating the retail core.

That was the catalyst which gave others the confidence to invest in the town and that is clear now with 10 or 11 cranes on the Croydon skyline.

Croydon isn’t going to be just about a shopping centre though. We have developers building here, big name companies looking to base their head offices here and housebuyers queueing up to live here. I think there has been a growing realisation over the past couple of years that now is the time to invest in Croydon. It is London’s biggest opportunity.

What is your opinion of the Inspired product?

It is fascinating to see Inspired coming from a different angle with regards to their development with a very clear target market in mind.

Affordability is a key concern among homebuyers and by making them ‘affordable by design’, Inspired is tackling that concern in an innovative way.

What advice would you give to potential first-time buyers looking to get on the property ladder?

Come to Croydon. We have a wide range of products available and, over the next few years, it is going to be a very exciting place to be.

There is real choice here – from the high-end city living offered by the likes of Berkeley and Barratt, to the traditional two or three bedroom terraced homes in fast-growing areas such as Addiscombe, South Norwood and Thornton Heath.

Prices here are significantly lower than in areas such as Clapham and Balham – and you may well end up with a better product. But as Croydon’s desirability increases so are the prices. Now is the time to look at Croydon.

Where do you see Croydon in 5 years’ time? How will it compare to now?

In five years’ time Croydon will have the best of both worlds. A new state-of-the-art shopping destination, new homes, new offices, new public realm. But also, hopefully, retaining some of the things that make Croydon special. Not just that unrivalled 15 minutes to Gatwick and the West End, but also that sense of community here.

In addition to the buildings going up, there is a huge emphasis on improving Croydon as a place to live – with a strong arts appeal including a revamped Fairfield Halls at the heart of a new cultural quarter adding to the RISEgallery, performance spaces and a much-improved food and drink offer helping to create a sense of destination.

Croydon has a highly-skilled population, it has a thriving tech scene, there is a real spirit about the place which is only being enhanced as you see the improvements that are taking place throughout the town

What Inspires you/what excites you most about Croydon?

Although Croydon is very much a part of London, it isn’t just another London suburb. I believe it is on its way to becoming a destination in its own right. The council leader talks about Croydon becoming a Modern European City and that is the direction we are going in. It’s why Boxpark have chosen it as their second destination.

Croydon is becoming a place where people will choose to live, work and spend their leisure time.

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