Friday, 4 March 2016

What's Happening With the Westfield Extension?

Westfield expands northwards
Construction work on the extension to Westfield Shopping Centre is under way, but apparently a bit behind schedule.

Demolition work began in 2015, with the brownfield land north of Westfield (mainly warehouses and semi-industrial buildings) turned to rubble.

Ariel way (the route through Westfield) has been closed off, leading to huge traffic congestion on Wood Lane, as anyone driving in our neighbourhood already knows.  Construction was originally scheduled to continue until October 2017, but the latest estimate of completion is now sometime in 2018.


What is happening now?
Phase 1 of the development is well under way - consisting of engineering and construction operations to form the foundations and basement of the new extension to Westfield.  The area to the north of the existing Westfield centre, mostly warehouses and light industrial use buildings, has been demolished.

John Lewis - coming in 2018?
What is being built?
The new development is described as "a mixed use scheme", including "demolition of existing buildings and associated structures, the closure and alteration of highways, engineering works and construction of new buildings".

What about housing?
There are also "1,347 residential units" planned, as well as  "new pedestrian routes and open spaces" and "cycle parking, car and motorcycle parking and vehicular access and servicing facilities". It all adds up to a huge new extension to the Westfield shopping centre - already the fifth biggest in the UK.

Is any of the housing affordable?
Some.  Westfield are promising "162 affordable housing units, with the potential for this number to rise to 250 if the scheme generates a significant surplus".


Why is all this happening?
Shepherd's Bush and White City are officially an Opportunity Area - meaning that the Council and the Mayor of London have targeted it for redevelopment. The northward expansion of Westfield is just the start of it - our neighbourhood is being completely transformed in all directions.

What else is happening?
The new park seen from above. Copyright Westfield.
Not only is Westfield expanding north, but the UGLI building on Wood Lane is also set to be redeveloped, creating lots of new flats and also a new park.

You can see the park in the image at the top, and to the right - it will run alongside the existing Hammersmith and City Underground line.

Will there be jobs?
Many. Westfield are promising "8,000 jobs" in addition to the existing 12,000 at Westfield.

Public Park
The brand new park will create new green space in the Borough. South of the railway line, the park will connect up with the northern extension of the new Westfield development.

You can see a bird's eye view to the right. The park is the green bit, marked 1 on the map.

Where can I see the plans?
You can see more about St James's plans by following this link:  You can see more on the UGLI proposals by following this link.

When will John Lewis open?
Westfield have also promised "an anchor department store" - a new John Lewis. This was to open in 2017, but now looks like being 2018.  Westfield have no firm dates for store openings as yet.

John Lewis - How it Will Look. Copyright Westfield
What about the DIMCO buildings? Will they stay?
Yes. Westfield does not have planning permission to remove the listed DIMCO buildings (where the ACME factory scenes from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? were filmed), but this is described at their website as one of their "aspirations for the future", in order to create "a spectacular new civic square which could provide a variety of uses throughout the year".

DIMCO looks set to become high-end retail space. Think a shiny Apple store, or some similar operation.

DIMCO Buildings - home of Judge Doom
Will Westfield be the biggest shopping centre in the UK?
Probably, yes. Right now it is the fifth biggest mall, at 150,000 sq ft, well behind the Gateshead Metro Centre at 190,000 sq ft.

But, with Westfield expanding by two-thirds, this new build will surely make it the biggest mall in the country.

For more on the latest Westfield expansion, follow this link to the official Westfield site, where a three minute video walk-through shows you what it will all look like.

The Bush Telegraph offers a personal view on life in Shepherd's Bush. If you would like to contribute a story, email us at shepherdsbushblog@gmail.com. And don't forget to add your opinion in the comments section below.


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