Thursday, 21 July 2011

Ken Livingstone: Shepherd's Bush Market should be saved, slams Council

Pie & Mash for Ken
Ken Livingstone told me today he suspected personal relationships were at work between Council Leader Stephen Greenhalgh and the men in charge of Orion, the developers set to demolish the row of historic shops on Goldhawk Road as part of the redevelopment of the Market.

Over a plate of pie n mash, what else, at Cookes' Pie & Mash shop which has stood on the site for the best part of a century, Livingstone insisted to me that "distinctive parts of London" should be preserved. He decried the plans to demolish the row of shops and suspected that the personal relationships were at work between the men at the top of our Council and Orion the developers - why else, he asked, would the Council have changed their procedures to accommodate Orion?

Ken chats to Traders
In response to my opinion that the Market definately needed regeneration the Labour candidate agreed, but said that there were allternatives that did not involve what he called "flattening everything". The current plans were not real regeneration and would only lead to a boutique market, without the area's present character, he said. He urged those Market traders and shopkeepers determined to resist our Council, who themselves have won a judicial review into the plans, to find an architect to work pro bono to come up with alternative plans that would presrve the existing buildings.

One of the owners of the Pie & Mash shop explained to Mr Livingstone, and Andy Slaughter who had made the visit with Ken, that the shop had been in her family since 1934 and she saw no reason why they should be evicted, and made to move into to what the developers call "improved" premises. Mr Livingstone sympathised but said that as a candidate he could not make pronouncements one way or the other over every planning decision before becoming Mayor if he won the election. He had to be fair, he said, before cheekily adding "but you can make a guess about where my instincts are going to be"

How the Council & Developers Orion want Goldhawk Rd to look - minus the shops
It now seems confirmed that Council Leader Stephen Greenhalgh's promise, made at this meeting last December, to uphold the wishes of the tenants of those shops not to demolish them if that was their wish - is set to be quietly dropped.

Legal battles have already started in the court with the market traders and shop owners already having won a judicial review of the plans, which would see the current market placed underneath seven floors of luxury flats. There are no buildings of comparable size anywhere around, so the new tower would dominate both the market and its surrounding area.

Despite some wobbles in their campaign, the shopkeepers of the Goldhawk Road have already proved themselves to be formidable opponents to our Council and Orion. And we saw with the ruling on Shepherd's Bush Green recently that the Council can be forced to curtail at least some of it's excesses in court. So perhaps this unique corner of the Bush isn't doomed just yet.

Time will tell.


  1. I'm sure a local architect might want to join up with the traders... it's not a bad idea and it'd be good for their publicity.

  2. Top-drawer pie and mash there. Be gutted if it goes.

  3. Quote "There are no buildings of comparable size anywhere around, so the new tower would dominate both the market and its surrounding area."
    But if the plans for the WCOA get the go ahead there will be nothing but buildings in excess of 8-12 storeys all over the place! Some of over 20.

  4. The plans could completely regenerate the area. I'm deeply suspicious of Livingstone's loony-left leanings. While I hate the knocking down of old buildings, occasionally it is justified. It seems that this is one of those occasional times, as the old buildings in question aren't so special. Anyone losing a place of business should be more than compensated for their loss with the offer of first rate new premises. But in my opinion the area is desperate for the kind of regeneration that only redevelopment on a big scale can bring.

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  6. John wrote:

    "It seems that this is one of those occasional times, as the old buildings in question aren't so special."

    I'm sure the folk who run their businesses from them would disagree!

  7. I'd normally agree Alexander but the current state of the the old buildings in question is very poor. In fact, apart from the pie shop, the rest of the buildings are in different stages of disrepair.
    I think the best solution would be to maintain the row of buildings but to force the landlords of the buildings to renovate the row.

  8. For goodness sake, this area is getting shabbier and shabbier. Those buildings are old, yes, but they are falling down. I want to live in an area with old and new buildings, NOT A SHANTY TOWN. The state of the market & these buildings is shaming. If we are not to live in squalor, someone has to PAY for the place to be regenerated. Who will, if not a developer?

  9. There are plenty of high-rise buildings already in the area, all of them built by Labour councils. So there is a precedent & you can count your bottom dollar these new ones will be better in every way. Sometimes I think these Labour politicians want the place to stay run-down so that they will get voted in to carry on complaining.

  10. Considering Ken's history of riding roughshod over the public consultations - he managed to ignore the 90% against the Congestion Chare Western Extension with consummate ease - any opinion he expresses is, as far as I'm concerned, designed to garner votes next year.

    In regards to the plan. I was looking at those buildings yesterday and they are knackered, but they do add character. Perhaps the facades should be incorporated into a remodelled design, with the residential units/market behind.