Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Shepherd’s Bush in gridlock: Westfield, the cause, indifferent

Uxbridge Road, Wood Lane and just about anywhere in a triangle between White City, the Askew Corner and Shepherd’s Bush Green have been in gridlock from round 1pm right through the afternoon and into the mid-evening courtesy of overwhelming traffic coming to the Westfield shopping centre since Christmas day.

Many of you have complained either to me directly or on Twitter generally about the gridlock that seized our neighbourhood and meant an average journey time down just the Uxbridge Road was about 45 minutes judging by my own and others’ experiences. As I write the roads according to the BBC are seizing up yet again.

And despite many of you copying the Westfield PR team, who seem to pump out self-congratulatory tweets every five minutes, with your questions and gripes they have seen fit to completely ignore all of them.

So it seems despite the very welcome demise of the Western Extension Zone, we now have another source of traffic chaos in W12. And just like Mayor Ken and TfL before them who rode roughshod over local people, Westfield seem not to care one little bit about the impact they are having on those of us who live in this neck of the woods. This was of course predicted back in 2008 but it seems to have taken till now to really bite. Having said that residents of Macfarlane Road and others right opposite the centre have been putting up with this ever since the centre started to be built.

So what to do? First stop is the Council, but there are also other public bodies that are impacted by the traffic crisis – I saw several police cars and ambulances with sirens blazing but completely unable to make any progress on Uxbridge Road in the two days I got caught in the grind up and I suspect that had a direct impact on whoever it was they were trying to reach or transport. I know the local police read this blog so I would urge them to make their views known.

I’m also going to be in touch with Cllr Nick Botterill, Cabinet Member for the Environment and Deputy Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham to see what the Council might be able to do. Cllr Botterill is one of the more effective members of the administration and has in the past responded very quickly to issues in Shepherd’s Bush and sorted them out – especially when some cowboy builders left the Green in a state.

Watch this space – and leave any comments you want put to the Council in the comments below.

30 December UPDATE: The Chronicle has caught up with this story here - note some of the similarities even in the description. "Gridlock" anyone?


  1. The M40 running into the A40, which goes into Marylebone via the fly over, was jammed to a crawl most of the day. Took two and a half hours to make what is usually and thirty minute journey into London.

  2. The traffic volume and parking stress on Boxing day and Monday made it impossible to get around at all - no point inviting friends over at all at Christmas time any more. Despite the attempted road closure of Macfarlane Road, there was no respite from the use of the raod as a Westfield car park extension. There were 51 blue badges parked in the road at 1pm on Monday! It is outrageous.

  3. Chris, slightly confused by your posts in favour of removing the Cong Charge Extension (Introduced to reduce car usage and polution, raise revenue for other transport means etc)and bemoaning the gridlock caused by Westfield. OK the charge would not have been in effect over the holiday but in general it would discourage car access from the CGEZ.
    The West Cross route towards Earls Court will always be busy. Like Westway and Park Lane it is one of the key west London routes.....
    As for expecting the council to be able to take any effective action over the grid lock I suspect you will have no luck at all.....
    They might ease the parking problems by more expensive charges in local streets yet Westfield will probably be cheaper and still people will prefer the streets to the queues in Wood Lane and on the West Cross route.
    Westfield need to be pushing public transport more as the prefered option, perhaps by subsidy in some way? and to discourage car usage of their excellent car park. I doubt this will make much difference to the jams but worth a try.....PS Tory councillors will 'Huff n Puff' but Westfield is a boon to the local economy and any administration will accept that, never mind the queues on local roads....
    Iain Muir

  4. A lot of the problem is caused by the bottleneck at the Westfield car park where there is only one entrance. Traffic then backs up to the West on to Wood Lane and to the east on to the West Cross Route, thereby gumming things up all over the Bush.