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New Stratford Centre manager ‘all about the green credentials’

PUBLISHED: 11:21 16 August 2016 | UPDATED: 11:21 16 August 2016

Tony Whitehorn is the new manager of the Stratford Centre

Tony Whitehorn is the new manager of the Stratford Centre

Archant

It keeps tradition alive, is striving to be as green as possible and plans to wow customers with a charm offensive.

Workplace partnership a ‘massive help’

Just down the road from the Stratford Centre are the headquarters of the council’s flagship jobs programme.

Tony Whitehorn, whose mall directly employs more than 30 people and whose tenants employ several hundred, said he has enjoyed a positive relationship with Workplace.

“We work really closely with them,” Mr Whitehorn said.

“It’s a massive help – the pull of employment in Newham is great for the economy and great for us.”

The warmth is not one-way, either – the borough’s mayor is also keen to stress the council and mall’s relationship.

“I am very proud of Workplace and the relationship it has built with key businesses including the Stratford Centre,” Sir Robin Wales said. “By working closely with retailers at the shopping centre, we have filled hundreds of vacancies with Newham residents.”

He added that since 2007, 30,000 jobs have been filled through the programme – and said he looked forward to further work with the centre.

That is the view Tony Whitehorn has of the Stratford Centre, where he has just been appointed manager.

With footfall up, all 61 retail spaces let and the east London boom occuring on its doorstep, the 33-year-old is very excited to start in the job he has wanted “from day dot”.

“It’s been a baptism of fire,” Mr Whitehorn, who was previously deputy manager at the mall, said.

“But it’s a pretty great feeling to take the reins.”

Sir Robin Wales praised Workplace's partnership with the Stratford CentreSir Robin Wales praised Workplace's partnership with the Stratford Centre

The first part of Mr Whitehorn’s plan is to make the centre “all about customer service”.

“We want to build around providing that level of service we would be happy to receive ourselves,” he said.

“And that starts with the cleaners and comes up to myself.”

Last year 25 million people came through the mall’s doors – this year it is expected to be 26m.

“The huge crowds are partly down to Westfield and everything else happening in Stratford,” he said.

“Everyone said we’d be doomed when they came, but that hasn’t been the case.

“We look at Westfield’s presence as very positive – we complement each other rather than compete with each other.”

He said representatives from the two malls meet to discuss several things – including security – but don’t always agree.

“We aren’t going to consider anything like the barriers Westfield put up for the West Ham game,” Mr Whitehorn said, referring to events during the club’s first fixture at the London Stadium on Thursday, August 4.

The Hammers fan added: “The club coming to Stratford is a brilliant thing for us.”

One of the Guildford-born manager’s other priorities is to reduce the mall’s effects on the environment.

“I’m all about the green credentials,” he said.

“Food waste recycling was brought in last year – we generate 60 tonnes of it in a year.

“Cardboard is another one – we had 300 tonnes last year.”

He stressed he is keen to do “anything” to get waste down and to build a good “ambience.”

“It’s about doing the right things,” he said.

Mr Whitehorn is also eagerly anticipating redevelopment at the centre, which is set to include hundreds of flats in two tower blocks and new space for market traders.

“The market will always be there,” he said. “It’s our unique selling point.”

He added: “People come from miles away to visit it so they can sample a proper East End market, and the traders do very well.

“It’s about keeping tradition alive – some of the traders are third generation stallholders.”


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