21 July 2008

Shops, lifts and donations

Questions are increasingly being asked about the relationship between Westfield, developers of the new White City shopping centre, and Tory H&F council and the Tory candidate for Hammersmith, Shaun Bailey.

First it's clear that Shepherds Bush central line station didn't need to close. What's not clear is why H&F council supported the closure which has disrupted the lives of thousands and thousands of local residents.

Why did H&F council fall over backwards to accommodate Westfield's demands which have meant 24/7 working around the site, causing misery to residents in streets north of Shepherds Bush Green.

And why has the work gone ahead without installing a lift in the new station? The Tory council announced in April that it had secured the lift - then last week condemned LU's failure to install one. The truth is LU has been backing off much of the below ground improvements on grounds of cost but this was revealed by local MP Andy Slaughter who has doggedly pursued both the council and LU over their failures.

Why did the council propose closing Wood Lane to northbound traffic, cutting one of the major arteries in the north of the borough and causing daily disruption in Shepherds Bush? Again it was to accommodate Westfield. Thames Water who are responsible for the works only wished to do it section by section - meaning traffic light controls but continued two-way traffic.

Westfield also seems to be in bed with Shaun Bailey, Tory candidate for Hammersmith. Bailey's company has been given money to train security staff and for him to lecture in local schools. Glossy leaflets promoting him and paid for by Westfield have been circulated in Shepherd Bush. In response Bailey promotes Westfield - he has made Westfield his website of the week in his latest Tory email. How on earth does he think he can represent local residents if he is already on the side of big business?

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