The traders are revolting. After Council Leader Stephen Greenhlagh made this binding promise to traders that the Goldhawk Block of historic buildings would not be removed if the traders didn't want them to be, the first sign that the Great Leader was to go back on his word came when Orion subsequently pitched up with an exhibition early this year in the old Shepherd's Bush Library that had the buildings still removed and a gaping third entrance there anyway leading from Goldhawk Road into the market.
When I asked Orion man Chris Horn at the exhibition why that was so, he said that the plans were still subject to review but that it was the planners' expectation that the row of shops would indeed be knocked down. I have it on other authority from an impeccable source that the press offices of our Council and Orion have been working closely together in refuting that this promise was ever given. It was. I was there.
At that point, the traders of the Market appeared to go wobbly. In fact their campaign started to fall apart with Mike Broughton, owner of Cooks' Pie & Mash shop being quoted by our Council as saying:
"I have been here for 41 years and the business has been here for 111 years. I hope to keep the business running in new premises on Goldhawk Road and we are talking to OSBL about how that can be achieved."Days later, he released another statment via the shops Twitter feed which said thus:
"Do not want new premises! Want to save the existing shops. They are so much a part of the local community".Work that one out if you can.
Now, however, it appears the traders are getting their act together again and brought their own lawyer to the recent exhibition which Orion have been holding again. Here's an account of an exchange between m'learned friend and Mr Horn from one of the traders just last week:
"He [the lawyer] posed some interesting questions to Chris Horn. Chris kept on going on that our buildings looked old and out of character. i kept on telling Chris, that no one has ever complained about our buildings until they came into the area to profit themselves. We, I said will do up the shops ourselves.
we then went into the market and the stall holders were complaining about how orion are now planning to reduce their size of their stalls n will oppose the plans once the planning applications goes thru."
Orion are here to make money - serious money. Not to make the best market that they can. That's why the market will be disappearing underneath seven floors of luxury flats and the new houses they plan to build backing onto Pennard Road are to be marketed for £1.5 million each, according to one reader of this blog who attended.
If the occupants of the Goldhawk Terrace are really, in the main, against their properties being demolished, as they tell me they are, then Councillor Greenhalgh's promise not to allow the third entrance will have to stand. If he decides to jettison that promise, as appears likely, then this planning application will be approved. There is no doubt about that whatsoever.
But make no mistake, the traders I have spoken to intend to take this to court. And in the words of one. speaking to their fellow traders:
"no matter how big the developers may be, remember the story of DAVID AND GOLIATH."18th May UPDATE - The Chronicle has caught up with this story here. The traders apparently refused to speak to the newspaper, so they aren't quoted. So you know where to find the Voice of the Bush!