Westfield Stratford City finally arrives

There have been criticisms that the construction of the Westfield Stratford City has been rushed, and these came to a head yesterday when the centre was officially opened. The construction is the largest shopping centre in Europe and during the opening a large glass panel from the roof came loose and smashed down right next to where London Mayor Boris Johnson was standing.

For a moment Johnson appeared flustered, but the man is known to be able to brush off almost anything and this is exactly what he did. He quickly made fun of criticism that the centre had been rushed to be completed and continued with his interview. He said, “The builders have done such a great job, someone will have that sorted out in a moment.”

The shopping centre looks, from the outside, to be an ugly construction of steel and glass. This ugly exterior did not stop shoppers from waiting outside its doors at 6am to be some of the first people inside the centre. Some people had even come up to a day ahead of time – some of them to claim various discount vouchers that stores inside the centre were offering. The Apple store was offering £50 discounts to some of its first customers.

Someone commented about the centre, “From inside, it is so packed that you would have no idea we were suffering a recession. Some people are just doing window shopping, but most of the people inside are desperate to let the shops take their money.”

The shopping centre is like any other but its location is a symbol of pride and hope for east London. One young shopper told us, “It is really great to see something like this in the area, it will be such a boost. I want to be involved in it and will be coming back to see if I can find a job at one of the stores.” The shopping centre is providing a significant boost to the economy by employing nearly 20,000 people. There are also many entertainment facilities from a bowling alley to a planned casino.