Sunday, 27 February 2011

Shepherd's Bush Market: Traders attack "misinformation" from Orion/Council

After weeks of confusion over exactly where the traders stand, with the owners of the Pie & Mash Shop on Goldhawk Road having given a statement to the Council saying that they wanted to talk turkey and sell the joint to move somewhere else, they appear to have regrouped and decided what their line is.

Here is the text of a statement that they released on Sunday, which points out that Orion the developers would like to build seven floors of very high density housing on top of the Market:
"After months of misinformation, softening up and attempts to divide and confuse residents and traders, the proposals for redevelopment of the Market and surrounding area were unveiled last weekend. Nothing could disguise what is planned - a massive complex of high-rise flats by a developer hand-picked and aided at every step by the council. And of course the end of any viable Market in Shepherds Bush.
Contrary to the usual propaganda, neither the shopkeepers nor traders are happy. Not suprisingly. The scheme purports to safeguard the pitches and rents during the course of development, which they estimate will last 5-7 years. In reality I doubt the market will survive this length of disruption. Who will want to shop or trade on a building site? Meanwhile the 290 luxury flats/ mews houses will be shoehorned into a tiny space, hence the need to go up seven-and-a-half storeys, completely destroying another historic part of the borough and losing valuable social projects like Broadway - visited by a government minister only last week!
The developer intends to use monies paid as part of the legal agreement with the council (section 106 funds) to pay for refurbishment of the market site. This is another broken promise. Previously they tried to justify the overdevelopment because they needed to use the profits from the flats to subsidise the market renewal, consistent with the council's claim that this was about redevelopment of the market. Now it is just another high-rise luxury small flat scheme (1,2, and 3 bed flats on a 5:4:1 ratio) with extra profit for the developer. The 106 monies would usually have been used to make some of the flats affordable to local residents, but that is the last thing the council wants.
Even by recent standards, where planning consents are used as a tool of the council's development strategy rather than to protect resident and business interests, this stinks"
At last. At long last the traders seem to be back on the same song sheet and many of the points they make are entirely valid. Not once during the exhibition that I attended and reported on here was the issue of affordable housing raised - there won't be any as far as I can gather.

The Market will become very much an indoor space for the majority of traders, being under the seven floors of housing units and therefore relying on artificial light throughout the day. Not quite the vision I think many people had when the plans for a revitalised Market were set out, but it's what makes the scheme very profitable for Orion, and that seems to be the main driver here.

And while you can hardly blame a private developer for wanting to make a shed load of cash, can you begin to imagine the shadow seven floors of flats would cast over the rest of the Bush?! There has to be a better way, but the write up from the Council's press office describes the Orion housing plans as "elegant" so the only hope for salvation seems to be in the courts.

Or does it? Don't forget that Council Leader Stephen Greenhalgh gave a clear and unequivocal committment here at this meeting to those traders that if they didn't want the large third entrance on Goldhawk Road then the Council would not give permission for it. All they need to do, and it's a big ask, is stand united  and call that committment in.


  1. I hope the traders win. The market is a fantastic local asset and I certainly wouldn't want to see it turned into a pastiche Farmers Market affair.

  2. Looks like the southern end of the market is doomed to dwell in the shadows of a concrete canyon created by 7 tiers of housing which will totally alter the nature of the market environment, housing none of which will be for rental. How much of the housing is to be affordable is still unsaid. 290 homes and little to no open space is unlikely to afford a great improvement for the traders, visitors and residents. The developers play with words and images....amd will probably get their way, but at what real cost to those of us who have resided her for years?

  3. Chris and Anonymous seem to imply there that the question of affordable housing is still in doubt - I'm slightly confused by this as we have asked this question in one of the many meetings with Orion and we were categorically told there would not be any. and this from "Leader of the Council, Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh said, “We passionately believe in making housing affordable to more people – that is why we are planning to build more housing than even the previous Mayor’s own targets over the next ten years. "

  4. There is no affordable housing , it simply doesn't exist. H&f s moto of 'keeping you in the borough with affordable housing' is utter nothing new there . The average wage per year is 25k across the uk and I know a good percent of people who don't even get that ! I get the emails and you have to be earning 30k plus to afford this 'affordable housing' and even then you'll be living on the bread line. It's a joke, all these homes do is entice the well off to take these offers up and make the borough more money.
    I say keep the market although it needs doing up, too many shops selling the same stuff , needs more diversity if it wants to stay around