Westfield London

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Template:Distinguish Template:Infobox shopping mall Westfield London is a shopping centre in White City, London, United Kingdom, in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. The centre was developed by the Westfield Group at a cost of £1.6bn,<ref name="launchPR">Template:Cite press release </ref> on a site bounded by the West Cross Route (A3220), the Westway (A40) and Wood Lane (A219), and opened on 30 October 2008.<ref name="BBC_launch">Template:Cite news</ref>

The site is part of the White City district, where several other large scale development projects are under way or in the planning stages. The development is on a large brownfield site, part of which was once the location of the 1908 Franco-British Exhibition; the initial site clearance demolished the set of halls still remaining from the exhibition (their cheap-to-build, white-painted blank facades are said to be the origin of the name "White City"). Much of the site was in use as a railway depot excavated to a lower level and built over.

The centre is noted for its size: it has a retail floor area of 150,000 m² (1.615m ft²), the equivalent of about 30 football pitches. At the time of its opening it was reported to be the second largest commercial centre in the UK (after MetroCentre near Newcastle).<ref name="BBC_launch"/>

The nearest London Underground stations are Wood Lane, White City, Shepherd's Bush and Shepherd's Bush Market.

The nearest London Overground station is Shepherd's Bush. This station is also served by longer distance Southern services between Template:Stnlnk and East Croydon.

Construction

The initial plan for a shopping centre at this location was developed by a consortium, the largest company involved being the UK division of Australian property company Multiplex Group. However, due to heavy financial lossses in other ventures, including the construction of the new Wembley Stadium, Multiplex UK was forced to sell its stake to another Australian company (and competitor), Westfield Group.

The development was built by Westfield Construction, the developer's own construction arm and was delivered on schedule. Robert Bird Group were the structural engineers for the job. The roof was designed by Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering (Stuttgart, Germany). The project took five years to build, employing 8000 people. The Project Director was John Roberts.

There was a structural/organisational challenge relating to the White City depot of the Central Line (Underground) railway. It covered a large proportion of the site, and had to be kept fully operational while being excavated beneath and relocated bit by bit at a lower level to allow the centre to make use of its previous location.

There were also considerable precautions needed due to the expectation of finding unexploded bombs from raids on a local munitions factory during the World War II blitz.

Retail area

thumb The centre opened to the public on 30 October 2008 and has a retail floor area of 150,000 m² (1.615m ft²).<ref name="launchPR"/> The completed centre features around 255 stores, including All Saints, Apple, Bershka, Boots, Bose, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Coast, Debenhams, Dorothy Perkins, Dwell, Early Learning Centre, Ernest Jones, French Connection, Geox, Gerry Weber, Habitat, Hackett, HMV, Hollister Co., House of Fraser, H.Samuel, Jaeger, Kurt Geiger, LEGO, Mamas & Papas, Mango, Marks & Spencer, Next, Nomination, Oakley, Reiss, River Island, schuh, Starbucks Coffee, Topshop, Uniqlo, the multiplex cinema Vue, Waitrose and Zara.

The development also includes a high-end retail area called The Village. The area includes brands Burberry, De Beers, Dior, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu, Mulberry, Myla, Tiffany & Co and Versace.

Vue digital cinema

Vue opened a fourteen-screen cinema on Friday 12 February 2010,<ref name="cinema">Template:Cite news</ref> including five 3-D-enabled screens, with a seating capacity of almost 3,000.

Transport connections

The Westfield centre opening coincided with the completion of several major London transport infrastructure projects, which now serve the centre and the surrounding area:<ref name="tflwc">Template:Cite web Template:Dead link</ref>

  • London Underground: Two Underground stations serve the centre - Wood Lane station (Circle and Hammersmith & City lines) on the western side, and the rebuilt Shepherd's Bush station (Central Line). There are also three other stations close by: White City, Shepherd's Bush Market and Holland Park.
  • London Overground/Southern: Shepherd's Bush railway station is a newly constructed station on the West London Line. The station, which opened on 28 September 2008, is located on the southern side of the Westfield centre, next to the Central Line tube station. The opening of the station was delayed by several months when the finished platform was found to be 18 inches narrower than the required width.
  • Bus and taxi: The Shepherd's Bush Interchange is located to the south of the centre next to the Overground station and includes a bus station and a taxi rank.<ref name="tfl">Template:Cite web</ref> Close to Wood Lane tube station is the White City Interchange on Ariel Way; the bus station here is built around the red brick, Grade II listed Dimco Buildings, which were originally built in 1898 as an electricity generating station for the Central London Railway.<ref name="English Heritage listing description for Dimco Buildings">Template:Cite web</ref><ref name="New White City Bus Station Opens This Weekend">Template:Cite web</ref> The Dimco buildings were used as a filming location for the ‘Acme Factory’ in the 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit?<ref name="dimco3">Template:Cite web</ref>
  • Cycle routes: The development includes some new cycle routes, but advocates consider them woefully inadequate<ref name="lcc1">Template:Cite web</ref>
  • Road links: A grade-separated junction connects to the West Cross Route (A3220), which runs alongside the development site.

Planned extensions

On 16 February 2012, Hammersmith and Fulham Council approved a 9 hectare extension to the north of the existing site. The north side of the extension is bounded by the existing railway viaduct, and the south side of the extension is adjunct to the present shopping centre. The extension will replace the industrial estate which currently occupies the area, which is divided by Ariel Way. The planned extension includes Template:Convert of retail space, offices, new streets, public spaces, and approximately 1,522 new homes. The department store John Lewis is expected to be the occupant of an 'anchor store' within the extension. The development ranges from four to twelve storeys high with one building at 20 storeys. Building is expected to begin in 2014 and will be phased over 17 years. The work also includes modifications to Shepherds Bush Overground Station, relocation of the bus station and reuse of the Dimco Buildings, and pedestrian links on the east side of the site connecting Hammersmith & Fulham with Kensington and Chelsea.

The existing shopping centre will also be extended by three new floors above Marks & Spencer in the north-east of the site, which will be occupied by Marks & Spencer and a children's centre.

Criticism

This substantial new development has not been without criticism. The impact Westfield London will have is not yet fully understood, but it is anticipated that the centre will attract trade that otherwise might have gone to the West End and may also have a strong negative impact on nearby Kensington High Street. The development has also pushed up rents in the Shepherds Bush area, which is expected to impact on the value retail offer in the area, with many businesses as well as the Shepherds Bush Market expected to suffer.<ref name="telegraph">The Telegraph - Bloom or bust for Shepherd's Bush?</ref> Others have criticised the centre's "clone stores".<ref name="telegraph"/>

In 2009, it was nominated for the Carbuncle Cup, an architecture prize, given annually by the magazine Building Design to "the ugliest building in the United Kingdom completed in the last 12 months".

See also

  • List of shopping centres in the United Kingdom
  • Westfield Stratford City - a similar development in east London

References

Template:Reflist

External links

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Template:Westfield United Kingdom Template:London landmarks Template:Coord