Orion, the developers our Council have teamed up with to rebuild Shepherd's Bush Market, are there to make a profit. And there's nothing whatsoever wrong with that, the traders of the market themselves are doing exactly the same thing. What seems to have upset those very few residents who were allowed to go and talk to Orion last night is that they don't seem to want to be straight with people about how.
At last week's meeting with traders I'm told a figure of 300 homes was used by Orion front-man Chris Horn. That is to say, they will be building enough flats on the site to sell off at a profit to offset what they'll be spending to knock down the Market and build it again. But last night, in a meeting with residents who understandably wanted to know how many new neighbours they'll be getting, the same Mr Horn denied using that figure, and then went on to say he'd never put a number on it. Orion had no clear idea for the number of flats they want to build, apparently. So the whole basis on which they make a profit is still 'to be confirmed' according to Orion.
Would you believe that? Neither did the residents. The meeting, which kicked off with a powerpoint presentation from Mr Horn, didn't start well when a slide illustrated one of these mystery new homes backing onto existing homes on Pennard Road, with what one resident described as "a minuscule garden acting as a buffer".
It seems that the old laundry site on Pennard Road is where Orion are going to make their gold, by building the homes they claim to know so little about. Pravda reports that:
"The council has agreed to give developers OSBL an option to buy the council's land on Pennard Road, which is known as the former laundry site. If they can assemble the rest of the land needed to come up with a viable scheme that ultimately gets planning consent and is in accordance with the council's planning brief then it is likely that OSBL will exercise the option and progress with the development"
That's certainly in keeping with what residents were shown last night but the same Pravda article also claims that the Council will ensure that Orion will:
"protect the interests of residents of Lime Grove and Pennard Road."
But in order to do that they need to have the confidence of those residents, and last night probably did more harm than good on that score. As one resident who attended the meeting said to me:
"I think Orion and the Council have Bush residents down as a transient and not very well educated or smart bunch. We intend to prove them wrong."