Shopping centre attracts 40,000 on first day

The new £100million shopping compex opened on June 9. Picture: TERRY SCOTT
The new £100million shopping compex opened on June 9. Picture: TERRY SCOTT

KENT’S latest retail complex, Westwood Cross in Thanet, has already made a massive impact with nearly 40,000 visitors flocking to the centre on its first day of trade.

Figures show a great start for the £100million project that opened on June 9.

James Ager, development director of Richardsons, the company behind the venture, said: "We knew people were excited about Thanet’s new shopping destination, but the number of visitors on opening day exceeded our expectations. I’m delighted with the success of the centre so far."

The opening ceremony was attended by Thanet council leader Sandy Ezekiel and the mayors of Ramsgate, Margate and Broadstairs.

Cllr Ezekiel said: "The opening of Westwood Cross is a major step forward for the regeneration of Thanet.

"In welcoming major new high street names to the area for the first time, we can capture essential spending from local residents and visitors who have previously visited other towns to do their shopping.

"This extra expenditure, joined with the creation of over 1,000 jobs, will be a major boost to our local economy.

"By adding to the diversity of shops in our area, we can start to really put Thanet on the map, which will in turn attract more inward investment and homebuyers to the area.

"As well as our top quality coastline, our thriving café culture and a first class line up of major events, which are being supported by a significant contribution from the developers of Westwood Cross, we can now offer 21st century retailing, alongside the unique ambience of our town centres."

Confetti cannons, music, shopper give-aways, street theatre, stilt walkers, and in-store appearances by model Jodie Marsh and children’s favourite Noddy were among the sights to greet first day shoppers.

The general concensus was that Westwood Cross is desperately needed in the area and is welcomed, although concerns were raised about the lack of car parking spaces and the grid-locked traffic system in roads leading to the centre of Thanet.

Westwood Cross is home to anchor stores Debenhams, Next, TK Maxx and Marks & Spencer and a full range of shops offering fashion, shoes, accessories, books, music, stationery and food.

H&M is the latest men’s, women’s and children’s fashion store to sign up to Westwood Cross, announcing it will open its doors on September 1 this year.

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