Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Shepherd's Bush Market: Court battle looms, Goldhawk Terrace safe

Traders are seeking judicial review of Orion Shepherd's Bush's plans to redevelop the Market but it seems Orion have accepted that the Goldhawk Terrace is here to stay, based on a chat I had recently with Chris Horn, spokesperson for the developers.

Traders are applying for a judicial review on two fronts - the way in which H&F Council has managed the process and also the plans Orion have for expanding the trading space of the market itself.

If either of these judicial reviews succeed - and at the time of writing neither have been formally submitted yet but I understand this is imminent - then the plans for the market will be set back by months. Which is presumably exactly what the traders are aiming for.

Speaking to Chris Horn it's clear that Orion have grudgingly accepted the pledge made by Council Leader Stephen Greenhalgh at this meeting in December that the historic Victorian row of shops will not be knocked down if the majority of shopkeepers do not want that to happen. Although Orion's Chair Richard Olsen claimed at the meeting that there were divided opinions among the shopkeepers, its clear that majority are not likely to change their minds in the short term.

So what we may have is some kind of smaller third entrance/exit, but along the lines of a fire/emergency access lane rather than a great big working entrance onto Goldhawk Road.

While I was frank when talking with Chris Horn about my own opinion that Orion had got it wrong on wanting to do away with what many of us see as a piece of historic Shepherd's Bush, it was also clear to me at least that Orion do actually have some very valid ideas about how the market might be expanded and made more profitable for the traders, without turning it into yet another boutique style place. But we now seem to be heading to court, and not for the first time on a planning issue in this borough.

And that, I think, eexplains why there seems to be a complete and utter lack of trust among traders, shopkeepers and local residents of Pennard and Lime Grove. Our Council has a lot of bad form on forcing developments on unwilling residents and it has only recently started to show some acceptance that this may not be the best way to go about things. Cllr Greenhalgh made up for some lost ground in the way he accepted that local wishes needed to come first at the meeting last year, but such is the legacy of distrust from residents, I can't see this development hapenning any time soon.

That said, there are to be a series of exhibitions locally in the coming months based on what Orion say they have been told by residents and traders alike. Look out for more here on that later. We rumble on...

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