Westfield head ‘extremely proud’ of booming Stratford site
PUBLISHED: 09:00 06 August 2016
The man who led the creation of the borough’s biggest shopping centre has hailed its “remarkable” progress – and said it is doing better than ever.
John Burton, head of development at Westfield, said the firm’s Stratford site is “at the top of every retailer’s list” and heaped praise on Newham mayor Sir Robin Wales.
Explaining that “comfort levels” and security in Stratford had shot up since the Olympics, Mr Burton said Westfield is going to be in Stratford “for the long-term” and that its footfall record is set to be smashed.
“I’m extremely proud of what we’ve done,” Mr Burton said. “Eight thousand people who never had jobs are now working – the power of that shouldn’t be underestimated.”
He said Sir Robin, meanwhile, was relentless in his pursuit of jobs for Newham and that government at all levels deserved more “plaudits”.
“We have been on song with Robin from the start,” he said.
“The whole of Newham has benefited – it hasn’t been limited to the west – even if the gravitational forces of the place have changed.”
He added Westfield is “growing every week” and 2012’s visitor record – 45million people – is likely to be beaten either this year or next year.
Before his firm came to Stratford, he said, he spoke with a schoolboy about what the area needed.
“He didn’t ask for basketball courts or the usual things,” Mr Burton said.
“He said he wanted somewhere safe and secure to play – that was a real eye-opener. But I feel we have done that.”
While eager for Stratford International to live up to its name, Mr Burton has few other concerns.
“Would you have any reservations bringing up children here? I don’t think so.”
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