John Lewis charges £2 to view park

A store overlooking the Olympic Park has begun charging customers for the privilege of looking out of its main viewing window.

The John Lewis store in Westfield, which neighbours the site in Stratford, east London, introduced the £2 charges on Sunday.

Customers are promised "panoramic views of the London 2012 park" from the viewing gallery on the third floor.

Binoculars are on offer and visitors are treated to views of the Olympic Stadium, the Orbit tower and other venues but some customers have taken exception to the charges.

Paul Atack, 65, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, said: "I've come all the way down to London to see the Olympic Park. I'm surprised that I can't even get near it. The park volunteers told me to go to John Lewis but I didn't expect to be paying for it."

A spokeswoman for John Lewis confirmed the fee had been introduced.

She said: "We have introduced a small charge to enter the viewing gallery at our Stratford shop - £2 for adults, under 16 years go free - as operationally we felt the need to separate those customers who wish to visit the London 2012 shop and those who wish to experience the view. This is something we've introduced from a need to manage the crowds.

"The net profit from our London 2012 shop in Stratford goes back to London 2012, and any proceeds taken from customers paying to visit the viewing gallery will be donated to local charities."

Those include housing charity East Thames Potential, homeless charity Cardboard Citizens and The Panathlon Challenge, a charity for disadvantaged young people.

John Lewis chose the location of the store partly because it would have a great view of the Olympic Park, the spokeswoman added.