LB Hammersmith & Fulham say that Westfield is not succeeding in creating a night-time economy.
In the Council’s newspaper, H&F News, parts of Westfield including the Southern Terrace nearest to Shepherds Bush station, are described as a “ghost town”.
The outdoor Southern Terrace has been hit by several restaurant closures in the past few months, leaving six units empty in the southern half of the alfresco dining strip.
Japanese restaurant Ito was an early casualty, followed more recently by delicatessen style cafe Esca and vegetarian eatery Tibits. Three units were never filled.
The businesses closed acknowledge the economic situation has payed a large part in their difficulties, but also blame the lack of “ambience”, and of a cinema, making the Terrace feel less like a destination and more like a rabbit-run. “The Southern Terrace has a dead feeling as you walkdown it. It should have a lively piazza feel, but now it’s just a walkway to the stations.”
Some of the remaining outlets are doing fine though – Meat and Wine Co managing director Clive Harrington said his large restaurant, at the southern-most tip of the Southern Terrace, is continuing to grow.
Mr Harrington told H&F News he believed the recession and poor weather had contributed to the failure of surrounding restaurants, but said branding and financial management had also played a part.
Westfield spokeswoman Laura Passam said the centre was still in a period of ‘stabilisation’, during which some businesses were bound to come and go.
“We have put in extra design features and landscaping, and we’re listening to the restaurant operators,” she said. “Some traders, like Wagamama and the Meat and Wine Co, are doing really well.”
Ms Passam said Westfield had already signed contracts to fill two empty units with Malaysian restaurant Jom Makan and gastropub The Bull, both tipped to open in the autumn.
She also expected a new all-digital 14-screen cinema complexto be open by the end of the year. Vue Entertainment have agreed to open and run the 3,000 seat complex.