Monday, 16 May 2011

David and Goliath struggle over Shepherd's Bush Market

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!


  1. How on earth can historic buildings be "out of character"? If anything is out of character then surely it's the modern buildings surrounding them which came afterwards.

    Silly, silly architects.

  2. At the exhibition, the architect was arguing the point that the council had paid a lot of money for the plot, and that they owed it to the council tax payers to maximise their returns. According to his story the council was demandin such a high price for the plot that the developer had no choice but to stick hundreds of propperties on top to pay for it. Firstly I thought the council was more into red carpeting developers instead of being so demanding and secondly should they not owe it to the tax payers not to speculate in the property market with our tax money.

  3. What is meant by 'historic'? They are commonplace Victorian buildings with no outstanding features which would justify, for instance, their being listed.

  4. I think those buildings are obsolete. They have not been maintained and are in a poor state of repair. It is unfortunate or fortunate depending on your position on this that they are adjoining a site that needs redeveloping. In my opinion, they don't add anything special to Goldhawk Road as buildings. Whilst it must be distressing for those traders, they will be compensated and if they chose to have a new store in the proposed development then I am sure they would benefit from the increased customer base that a new Market etc would bring. I would certainly become a regular visitor and I am not at the moment. Shepherds Bush Market and its surrounds needs to be regenerated. The benefits of these proposals outweigh the negatives in my opinion - it needs doing

  5. "Commonplace Victorian buildings" are only commonplace because they haven't all been demolished...

    Is a developer building some expensive flats over a market going to produce a nice, considerate and pleasing building? No.

  6. And who built those Victorian buildings in the first place, if not speculative builders looking for a profit? And now you're swooning over them as if they were the Taj Mahal. I make no claims for the new development - but there's no need to get all precious about what's there at the moment.

  7. I suppose it's not really the buildings that are important, but the community that they foster. And there's no denying that this is linked to the buildings. Re-developing the site will lose the character of the market place to bring in new folk who don't care about the area in which they live... and in an area where the sense of community is more important than ever surely that's a bad thing?

  8. The market is old and it adjoining buildings have not been maintained. The area needs regenerating. Do you really think that the existing market has character? It could be so much better. It needs investment and housing provides the money to improve the market - where else is the money going to come from? The development is needed in my opinion - the benefits will outweigh the negatives - improved environment; improved safety; and improved sense of community etc. Surely you cant say that the current situation provides a sense of community when so many unpleasant incidents have occurred there - drug dealing; violence etc (as reported and commented on this blog). I think we as a community should want a better environment to live and work in and what is being proposed has got to be better than it is now.

  9. Why would new folk 'not care about the area in which they live'? They are presumably making an informed decision to spend a lot of money moving somewhere they think will be nicer than where they lived before. Londoners aren't endentured labourers - most of us move around and don't stop caring about where we live.

    There seems to be an assumption here that someone who buys a flat in this development if it ever happens will be mentally defective in some way and be more than happy to live in an eye-sore whilst crapping all over the previously contented Shepherd's Bush family.