Young Planners Conference: Tour 6: Westfield Stratford City

Thank you to Jon Watson for leading the tour of the recently opened Westfield Development and to the twenty plus delegates who attended this tour.

The recently opened Westfield Stratford Development, which is adjacent to the Olympic Park, is one of the largest urban shopping centres in Europe and is the third largest shopping centre in the United Kingdom. It forms a key element of the comprehensive regeneration of Stratford City.

The tour commenced with a presentation at Westfield’s offices where Jon who leads on planning at the Stratford City Project, gave delegates an overview of the masterplan for the area and explained the role of both Westfield and the development site in this plan. Jon also outlined how the site will be developed post-Olympics, with over 1 million sq ft of office space planned including a site opposite the Westfield development in the hope of providing an additional focal point for office development within London.

After the presentation on the context and background of the Westfield development, delegates were given a tour around the site. Jon explained how the proximity of the shopping centre to the Olympic Park had influenced the design and layout rationale of the development of this shopping centre. The width of the shopping ‘streets’ and the footbridge leading to the centre were significantly widened and open areas included to accommodate large volumes of people moving through the site during the Olympic Games, creating an attractive and spacious environment for visitors post-Olympics. Jon also explained how the inclusion of non-retail uses and event spaces had changed the nature of a venue traditionally associated with retail activities. Indeed, the Westfield Stratford Development can be cited as an excellent example of how mixed use, retail-led development can revive a declining and struggling town centre.

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