Plans to extend the Westfield Shopping Centre in Shepherds Bush and construct more than 1,300 homes have been approved by the leader of the Greater London Authority (GLA), the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, it was announced on Friday.
Johnson, whose main priorities cover a range of public services across London, has given the go-ahead for a GBP1bn scheme at Westfield Shopping Centre. The first John Lewis department store in West London will be central to the new development by Westfield Shopping towns Ltd, which will also include restaurants and cafes, office space, a children’s play space and a new leisure complex. The expansion is expected to create around 6,700 permanent new jobs including 600 new jobs at the 230,000 sq ft John Lewis store, which will operate over four floors.
Head of format development at John Lewis, Tim Harrison, was cited as saying: “This is very positive news. We look forward to bringing our offer closer to customers in West London. We will continue to work closely with Westfield during the next design stage and towards delivery of the shop for 2017.”
Westfield Shoppingtowns will also build 1,347 new homes. The Mayor has sanctioned that 162 of these homes will be affordable residences, with 40% being social rented. Subject to viability assessments, the number of new homes could be increased.
The development is sited within the White City Opportunity Area, which is one of more than 30 areas that the Mayor has designated as having significant capacity for new housing, commercial and other development. The Opportunity Area aims to develop creative, media and entertainment industries within White City, which also include the redevelopment of the former BBC Television Centre in Wood Lane and a new campus for Imperial College, Imperial West. There is reportedly a total capacity for 5,000 homes and 10,000 jobs.
Westfield Group has interests in and operates five shopping centres in the UK, valued at over GBP5.2bn. In addition to Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City, said to be Europe’s two largest shopping centres, the company also operates two shopping centres in the Midlands, Westfield Derby and Westfield Merry Hill; as well as Sprucefield in Northern Ireland. The company has stated that it intends to start construction of the first phase of the Westfield Shopping Centre expansion in 2014 with the new department store and shops open in time for Christmas 2017.
Since 2000, Westfield has reportedly invested over GBP3.5bn in the UK and has committed over GBP2.5bn in future UK investments, including the expansion of Westfield London.
Making the announcement, the Mayor of London stated: “Westfield has had a transformational impact on Shepherds Bush and White City, kickstarting widespread social and economic regeneration. This expansion will create thousands of much-needed new homes and jobs and ensure that the area remains one of West London’s leading shopping destinations for many years to come.”