I really hate this place. Really. And it is one of the few times I really agree with the Evening Standard on an issue. Why do I hate it. It is simply unnecessary. West London never needed this when Brent Cross is near enough and Oxford Street is down the road. Also, how else can you blight a local neighbourhood that is a fantastic example of regeneration at a community level. Why, park a giant mall next door and watch the place sink into the ground so it can be sold off for luxury apartments!
I do agree with redevelopment. There are some good examples of this particularly with the success of Docklands. However, Shepherd’s Bush was never the old London docks. It is not derelict, just poor. However, for the powers that be it did not look pretty. Well, they should have though of that before building the West Cross Route, and so blighting the neighbourhood. Not learning from the mistakes of the 1960’s, they are at it again with Westfield. Not one bit of the old former Olympic site was set aside for parkland. Oh joy.
Thankfully, the place looked empty. And thank goodness. A fortnight after its opening, the mall is blissfully empty compared to the Bush. It probably will not last for long, but the crowds on opening day seem to have evaporated like cheap credit. I had to see it, only because I was threatened with arrest after taking a photo of it – God Bless the War on Terror! But once I saw it, I could not even be bothered to enter it. The newest major addition to London’s skyline is a blob, taken from the 1960’s. Unlike Canary Wharf which has some aesthetics to it, or even the Millennium Dome with its unusual design, there is nothing nice to say about the look or feel of Westfield. Well, White City Bus Station looks kind of pretty, but that is quite shocking when the best feature of London’s most exclusive shopping area is the bit where the peasant wagons disgorge their cargo.
Westfield will probably not fail, it is too politically important to do so. However, the rest of Shepherd’s Bush does not look as if it will fare so well. Our cash does not matter. A project of this magnitude, is despised by locals, and it can be seen that they are keeping away in droves. In fact, once on the Green, it was back to normal, the crowds eating out and the usual restaurants filled with a clientele who came for some of the best food in London. Including myself.
May I just say that Ethiopian food is fantastic. In a country that has unfortunately become more famous for its famine rather than for its rich culture. More to come on that little adventure in itself, to the world of Abyssinian food…