Groundhog Day for Westfield

By - Wednesday 22nd November, 2017

The Westfield shopping centre is definitely definite. Again. Facebook’s response was poetic

Westfield has cleared its final hurdle and is absolutely definitely going to be built!

Last Tuesday’s decision was met with a collective Croydonian eye-roll that almost lifted the roof off the Whitgift Centre. Is it Groundhog Day? Are we meant to get excited every time that this is announced?

Our cynicism might have more to do with years of delay than really not wanting it. But over and over again, local people reacted with concerns about its impact on the wider community and with irritation at political and media cheerleading.

There’s something more than slightly ridiculous about returning repeatedly to the same place with the same fanfare each time.  So here, in Croydon’s own words from a selection of last week’s Facebook posts (seasoned with a little poetic licence), is the town’s response to the latest instalment in the saga of our elusive shopping mall.

Westfield is coming!

“Westfield is coming? They said that in ’13!

Supposed to open – now, in fact! But nothing to be seen”


“Every couple of years we hear that Westfield’s coming, yay!

Serious question – why should we believe a word they say?”


“Westfield is coming! When does work begin?

Without it there’s just endless blight and nobody can win”


“But there’s already Whitgift! Who cares about more shops?”

“But that’s not fit for purpose – a shabby, failing flop”


“Developers make promises and now they’re home to roost”

“Why can’t they just get on with it? We badly need the boost”


“When Croydon gets the Westfield name, it puts us on the map!”

“It’s going to be be a nightmare – low waged work and costly flats”


“A Westfield draws in everyone and makes the shoppers stay”

“This starts to sound like Brixton – I’m glad I moved away”


“Croydon’s a mess of nothingness. A Westfield’s what we need!”

“Developers lay waste the town in a blaze of corporate greed”


“Failure to follow through on this just means unending blight”

“With homeless people on our streets, this place is just not right”


“Excuse me if I’m skeptical, but you must be mistaken,

They can’t keep on announcing this – the piss is being taken”


“I’m tired of Westfield promises – I reckon it will burn

As the national economy takes its Brexit-y downturn”


“But Westfield will help everyone – it draws all sectors in,

These places don’t stand empty – capitalists will always win”


“But take a look at Stratford and the one at Shepherd’s Bush,

Does everybody shop there or just people who are flush?”


“Investment boosts the economy, right across the town”

“Wrong! Those low-waged retail jobs just keep poor people down”


“But shopping malls help everyone – they pull in rich and poor

And strengthen local markets with their big new retail draw”


“I’d rather they were artisans, but retail stars bring crowds,

If Westfield takes the plunge with us, it could do Croydon proud”


“How can you think it’s good news, or talk of local pride

Whilst across the road the homeless spend another night outside?”


“What kind of ‘opportunity’ sells flats £400k?

Don’t tell me they’re for workers here – they’re driving us away”


“About time they got started! We can’t go drifting on,

The years that we’ve been waiting are pulling Croydon down”


“But no-one shops in Croydon, so don’t you say it’s cool –

The town’s a no-go area when the kids come out of school”


“How will a Westfield help with that? The noise, the mess, the scenes?

What this place needs to fix it is a curfew on the teens!”


“The council closed the Braithwaite space, they drag our culture down,

They damage what we value, then they claim to love our town”


“Westfield will crush small business, eroding bit by bit.

I’m tired of all this trendiness. I think that Stormzy’s sh*t”


“Gentrification’s come to trash the place we had before,

They lied about the Warehouse – closed it down and nothing more…


…Was ever done to help it to find a new and better home –

Why don’t these flippin’ corporates just leave our town alone?”


“Awesome! Thanks for sharing! I’ll tag in all my friends!”

(You can’t have lived here long if you think this is where it ends.)

Liz Sheppard-Jones

Liz Sheppard-Jones

Writer and editor. Views personal, not representative of editorial policy.

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    • lizsheppardjourno

      Thank you, G! I do love a rhyming couplet ;)


        I did think hard (for about a micro-second!) about replying in rhyme but nothing snappy came to mind :-(


        • lizsheppardjourno

          Reply in rhyme and don’t be wimpy
          You can do it very simply
          Once you start they just flood out –
          You can do it, I’ve no doubt! ;)


            CPOs expire – did you know?
            Doh, doh, doh, doh, doh!
            Now, will this have an impact
            (because, I’m told, it is a fact)
            On the Westfield “development”
            Or is that idea just about spent?
            And we should find another way
            To regenerate Croydon – yay!

            There you go – it’s amazing how a glass of wine makes you think you can do anything, even write poetry …..

          • lizsheppardjourno

            Hahahaha excellent :-D x