I was lucky enough to chair a debate in Canary Wharf this morning at the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation’s annual meeting. I say lucky because the panel proved particularly enlightening on the key issues affecting development and regeneration not just on Olympics site but also across east London and the Thames Gateway.
Among those speaking were Steve Norris, the well-known Conservative politician and chair of Soho Estates, Greater London Authority head of strategic projects and policy evaluation Jeremy Skinner, Westfield development director John Burton, Olympic Park Legacy Company chief executive Andrew Altman, and Inter Ikea business development manager Harald Muller.
You can watch a video of the debate and interviews with the key speakers below. If you want to read my news story on what was discussed, then click here.
One can always expect a dose of positivity at such events, and why not, but it did strike me today that there is a genuine sense of momentum behind the development plans in the area just now. In particular, the opening of Westfield Stratford City seems to have boosted confidence that major commercial opportunities and investment are coming and there is a lot of positivity about just how much work is being generated for the local community.
John Burton of Westfield pointed out that in the first two weeks John Lewis has reported that it has not seen a single member of staff resign. Apparently the retailer normally expects a 10 to 15% turnaround in this period after a major opening.