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Westfield development promises £20m in community benefit

Words: Laura Edgar
Westfield London

Shopping centre giant Westfield has agreed with a London council to provide £20 million worth of local investment as part of a £1 billion retail expansion and housing scheme.

A section 106 agreement attached to permission for the expansion of the Shepherd's Bush Westfield Centre will see the millions support the White City Opportunity Area, as well as funding education, skills and improvements to public realm. Hammersmith and Fulham Council gave outline planning permission to the scheme on 5 September.

The £1bn plan includes expansion of the existing shopping centre, designed to attract John Lewis, and a housing development of some 1,347 homes. At least 162 of the homes will be affordable, according to the proposal, with scope for up to 250.

Under the terms of the S106 agreement, Westfield will contribute:

- £12.25m towards the development of the White City Opportunity Area, a significant area identified to accommodate housing

- £7m travel infrastructure, including increased bus capacity and road improvements

- £600,000 towards supporting local jobs and training.

Further to this, the proposal claims that around 8,000 new jobs will created as a result of the expansion.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council leader Stephen Cowan said: “The plans will provide a dynamic and attractive gateway to Shepherds Bush town centre and the wider White City Opportunity Area, creating new jobs, housing – including much needed affordable housing – and £20m of community benefits agreed via the section 106. This is a great example of public-private partnerships working effectively to deliver beneficial regeneration.”

Westfield’s director of development Duncan Bower said: “Westfield London has always aimed to be a positive force for change in the local area – whether that is through our direct financial contributions or physical delivery for community benefit, the significant job opportunities the centre provides annually, or the further inward investment that is attracted to the White City Opportunity Area. 

“With the new retail extension – and in particular attracting John Lewis to W12 – we will continue to contribute to the ongoing rejuvenation of Shepherd’s Bush and White City.”

The construction and main phase of work is due to start in mid-2015. The new retail development is expected to open in 2017, alongside the first phase of residential development.