Westfield opens with huge crowds, as Mayor unveils transport improvement package

800px-Shepherd%27s_Bush_Overground_stn_roundel Europe's largest inner city shopping centre opened yesterday with over 100,000 people visiting.

The 1.6m sq ft centre was opened by Mayor Boris Johnson. The centre has created around 7,000 new jobs, and is expected to attract over 20 million visitors a year. The developer says that 99% of the centre is let, with between 80 and 90% open for the first day.

Johnson also used the occasion to announce a £200m infrastructure investment when joining Tim O'Toole, Managing Director of London Underground, as well as Michael Gutman, UK CEO for Westfield and Stephen Greenhalgh, Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council in viewing the new Wood Lane tube station on the Hammersmith and City Line, the first new station built on an existing line for 70 years.

The investment will fund a rebuilt Shepherd's Bush Central line station, with new enlarged ticket hall, brand new escalators, and enhancement so that the station will cope with the increased demand that will follow the opening of the Westfield centre; a new fully accessible White City bus station, next to the new Wood Lane Tube station, capable of carrying 10,000 passengers every day; a new, fully accessible Overground station on the Willesden Junction to Clapham Junction line, offering passengers a north-south rail link at Shepherd's Bush; a refurbished and improved White City Central line station; and four new cycle routes and upgraded pedestrian access.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said: "This huge investment in infrastructure will help to boost the London economy and will make life better for the people of West London, who will see the real benefits of an unprecedented improvement in public transport.  The new Wood Lane station, and the connection to the London Overground network, will radically improve the transport links for people in West London, who have been crying out for better connections for years."

These major transport improvements are the result of partnership working between TfL, the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and Westfield, who invested £170 million coupled with a further £30 million from Transport for London.

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