Walthamstow shopping centre reopens following fire, reports James Cracknell
The Mall has reopened – six weeks after a fire gutted large parts of its upper floors.
Hundreds of staff have been unable to work during the closure of the Walthamstow shopping centre, but have been supported through an appeal led by the charities Retail Trust and Fashion and Textile Children’s Trust. Mall owners Capital and Regional (C&R) donated £25,000 and Waltham Forest Council gave £10,000.
The fire spread rapidly throughout the roof of The Mall in Selborne Walk on Monday 22nd July. No-one was injured. London Fire Brigade has yet to establish a cause. Although sections of the roof are still being rebuilt, the main part of the shopping centre has been made safe. While some shops with entrances in Walthamstow High Street were reopened in August, most have remained closed until today.
Lawrence Hutchings, C&R chief executive, said: “The Mall is at the heart of the community in Walthamstow and we understand the fire has had an impact on people working in our stores.
“We have been working very hard to provide help and support to those experiencing hardship as a result of the fire.”
Council leader Clare Coghill said: “The Mall is vital to the people of Waltham Forest. My thanks go to all those involved in getting the centre up and running as quickly and safely as possible.”
One of the affected organisations was British Heart Foundation (BHF), which runs a second-hand furniture shop in The Mall. The fire meant all stock had to be replaced and the store’s closure resulted in a loss of tens of thousands of pounds for the charity.
On Wednesday morning volunteers and staff celebrated the reopening and welcomed locals back to the store. Mira Palmer, BHF area manager, said: “I am delighted to attend the re-opening of our Walthamstow home store. The fire in July caused significant damage to the shopping centre and the resulting closure came as a huge disappointment for the volunteers and staff.
“It is therefore fantastic to have it back up and running, raising funds for life-saving research into heart and circulatory disease. I would like to thank the local community for all their support and good wishes and would urge locals to kindly donate any unwanted furniture and homeware, so the store can resume its vital work.”
To donate to the Walthamstow Appeal for workers at The Mall: