September 2, 2011 | life

Behind the Scenes of Westfield Stratford City

I was lucky enough this week to have a very exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the new, not-yet-open-to-the- public Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, East London. To say I was excited would be an understatement. Anyone who lives in East London knows what this centre, along with the 2012 Olympic stadium, will do for the area, so to be here watching it all happening makes me feel pretty darn lucky. Take a glimpse below for some stats and exclusive pics.

As we were escorted around the massive, three-level mall, builders from all over the country beavered away putting the finishing touches to shops. Most of the stores are boarded up at the moment and have no product in (probably not a good idea to do that til they’ve finished building the thing!), but the names that were there made me pretty excited about potential shopping trips.

Westfield Stratford City, as it will be known, is larger than the Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush and is one of the most environmentally friendly developments in the UK. It will also be the gateway to the Olympic park and it’s expected that 70% of Olympic foot traffic will go through the centre – it’ll be a very busy hub indeed.

One of the things that struck me as we walked around was the use of natural light. Yes, it’s a shopping centre, but you know what the elements are doing outside at all times. It’s nice and bright and airy. There’s also an external shopping street environment and outdoor dining.

Alongside all the high street shops you’d expect in a centre like this, there will also be two hotels (Premier Inn and Holiday Inn), office space, over 300 food, fashion and lifestyle brands, a Vue Cinema, All Star Lanes bowling and a casino. Food wise, expect the likes of Bumpkin, Jamie’s Italian, Busaba Eathai, Wahaca and more.

The grand opening is on September 13th. You can keep up with all the latest on the Westfield Stratford Twitter, their Facebook page and there will soon be an app you can have directly on your phone.

Not long now til you can shop til you drop in East London (and then go for a run around the Olympic stadium in celebration – woo hoo!)

For more info, check out their website

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Belinda Harman

I live in East London and I can’t say I feel the same way about the new Westfield. My son worked in Apple for a while in the Shepherds Bush Westfield Shopping centre and he hated it!
Working in a large over crowded soulless shopping centre serving rude people all day drains you of the will to live and pretty much has that affect on me if I’m in one of those places for more than an hour.
The one thing I really hate about shopping departments and malls is the lack of natural light so I do like the fact you can see out at this one but I still can’t get excited about yet another big impersonal shopping centre.
A celebration of consumerism and industrialisation which has killed off most of the little unique local shops and businesses. I miss the old days when people would stop me in the street and ask “Where did you get that? “.
Most people can identify exactly where you got it from as everyone buys their clothes in the same places or another branch of the same place.
No one to serve you in the old fashioned way someone who gives a toss if you actually bought something in their shop, someone who could answer your questions about the product and the sequins were not sewn on by a 10 year old Asian kid in a far off land but hey don’t think about that or how low paid the shop assistants are in these places. Some rich people will be getting a lot richer because of this shopping centre and thats the main thing isn’t it. Yeah don’t think about that just think about how big and er……Big the new shopping centre is. Yay! : /

Style Souk

I welcome and look forward to the regeneration of East London – both in the sense of urban landscape and job creation – but, the spectre of another vast and impersonal cathedral of consumerism leaves me unmoved. Yeah, bah humbug and shit.

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