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A sudden closedown for Westfield Stratford City

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IMAGINE you’re in business and you’ve taken a chance on renting premises at Westfield Stratford City shopping centre. That’s a big investment.

After the initial rush, custom has fallen away and you are looking forward to Friday 27 July, the day of the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony, which will surely be the season’s most lucrative.

Out of the blue you are told that businesses at Westfield have to close by 3pm that day. A Westfield statement says: “The centre will be required to close at 3pm to assist Locog  (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games) with the logistics of the opening ceremony.

Westfield centre Stratford spring 2012

Westfield Stratford, above, and top

“The required change to opening ceremony day centre trading hours is a consequence of the centre being located at the gateway to the Olympic Games.”

This is the kind of weasel waffle beloved of organisations that have to make embarrassing announcements. So the reason, the “consequence”, is impossible to understand. Loving Dalston guesses it’s a panic by the organisers at the thought of crowds bigger than can be easily controlled.

So, give your staff the afternoon off and try not to think about the now-silent tills.

Westfield declined to comment. The Times City observer Martin Waller commented: “Just wait until they start shutting the various Tube and railway stations for the same reason.”

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