Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Market traders write to Cameron

Downing Street has written a letter to one of the Shepherd's Bush Market traders leading the campaign to save the historic row of shops on Goldhawk Road from the developers wrecking ball, and received a pretty standard cut and paste job of a reply. 

But what it does mean is that the Department for Communities & Local Government, to which the No10 letter refers, will also have to issue a formal reply. 

Ms Meghani says that in her letter to Mr Cameron, she pointed out that:
"he made great speeches on saving independent shops and on multiculturalism, and that his wife been the head of the British Fashion council, should really support us shops and the fashion industry".  
"I challenged him to come and visit us thriving shops, and should he really be demolishing these shops that has been serving the community collectively for 300yrs. I had stated, that these shops have been standing for almost 140yrs, with the oldest Pie shop in the UK".  
"Should he fail to support us, then his speeches would hold no fort, and in addition the fashion industry would collapse overnight, which he would then be responsible for. The question is, why demolish us, as we are doing something right to have sustain these number of yrs".
I'm not sure the British fashion industry really would collapse overnight if the Goldhawk Shops are knocked down, but you get the gist. After all, Council Leader Greenhalgh did promise that the shops would not be knocked down if the shop owners didn't want them to be at this public meeting - and then promptly forgot his promise.

So it's no surprise the traders have given up on him and the council, and are appealing to any other authority that they can. 


  1. Fashion?

    Fashion is about innovation, design, ideas, aesthetic appeal, excitement, youth, art, taking risks, sweeping away the old & heralding the new.

    The plan for the market development has students at the London College of Fashion in Lime Grove playing a key part in the cultural & business side of a REGENERATED market with opportunities to start new fashion businesses.

    An interest in design means an interest in the built environment & how it affects the people who exist within it.

    So these shops sell cloth. They can continue to do that. But some buildings are just a constant reminder to the community of how careless property owners can be about our cultural past & the depressing psychological effect neglect has on the people around them.

    Neglected buildings are a sad, sad reflection of a lack of love for our culture in past decades.

    We need to revive our community spirit in Shepherds Bush with more homes for every income bracket and a new cultural & social market centre where small businesses & individuals can truly flourish.

    Come on, Chris, you are becoming a key part of this community and I cannot believe that someone with your instincts does not really believe that the people of Shepherds Bush would not benefit enormously in every way from flourishing new social & cultural heart.

    We really need a thriving, modern market for the community here.

  2. Vested interests, Mr Sinclair?

    Incidentally, is this the woman mentioned in the article the one who runs "I love Hijab"? That's a great name for a shop and a cheerful up-yours to burqa-banners.

  3. @Brett

    Shepherds Bush does benefit enormously from a flourishing social and cultural heart. The one the developers are going to knock down.

    Care to declare an interest? You seem quite a fan.


  4. I do have an interest, yes. I live close to the market and I have a professional interest in design & I love history & architecture.

    I want to see the built environment in Shepherds Bush improve because it looks unloved & I think this has an effect on people's lives, not least my own.

    I have scrutinised the proposals from Orion and submitted my own suggestions as a resident to them at the public consultations. My suggestions were community-based, including the planting of trees and offering new stalls to the fashion students so they can get their careers started locally.

    I cannot vouch for Orion, except to say that they took on board my suggestions even at a very late stage and to give them due credit they incorporated them into the plan with good grace and at no obvious advantage to themselves.

    I'm a Labour supporter and I agree that some aspects of the Tory council administration seem brutal. However on this matter I do genuinely and sincerely believe that a regenerated market would make a huge positive difference to the social and cultural life of the community in Shepherds Bush.

    I share some of your cynicism, but I love a rich, multi-cultural atmosphere & want to see small traders allowed to flourish in a positive environment. At the moment they have to put up with leaking roofs, graffiti & now drugs dealers.

    Also, having studied the situation carefully, I am very worried that if this regeneration does not get the go-ahead, we will see the market closed within the next few years.

    The obvious outcome of that will be yet another bland shopping centre, surmounted totally by many hundreds of expensive flats that will contribute little to our heritage or the future.

  5. In fairness to Brett he makes some very fair and valid points, many of which were the reasons I originally welcomed this scheme.

    What I think has bred much cycnicism however is the cavalier way in which the Council has treated traders, in particular those who stand to be forced out of their buildings, even extending to making public pledges which are then quietly forgotten after some follow-up lobbying from Orion.

    None of that bodes well for any of us, least of all the traders of the Market. Are we seriously saying that there are no alternatives open?
    Having said all of that the point of a blog is that all views get aired and Brett has every right to continue to question what I and others write over this.

  6. Let's hope they can come up with an old-fashioned, British compromise.

  7. I was disappointed when the Passmore Edwards library was closed, but can now see that putting the Bush Theatre in there is probably an improvement. Not all change is for the worse.

    The market is shabby and could be made a more pleasant place without ruining it. New development to fund the improvements (and bring more life/business/etc. to the area) is probably the best way to fund this.

  8. Fair play to you Brett, but surely there has to be a better way to sort out the problems you talk about without resorting to wholesale demolition?

    (I must declare an interest myself - I'd be gutted if AJ Cooke's Pie and Mash shop went, as I only discovered it last year despite living in the borough all my life, and I haven't been there nearly enough yet.)

  9. I know I'm in danger of going on about this too much, but thanks for reading what I've got to say. It's just that I do feel strongly about how good Shepherds Bush could be if the environment was improved.

    I love the Pie Shop. But I would say that it is far more than just bricks & mortar. It is the people, food, culture, heritage, their wonderful logo, etc. I want to see the Pie Shop prosper & used by everyone in Shepherds Bush.

    In truth I think many potential customers are put off because of the shabby surroundings around about. I wanted to take some visitors there. They wanted to go in but took a look around & thought they might not be welcome because they were too dressed-up. They are just ordinary people.

    I know the Pie Shop could be a focal point for everyone. A fantastic success with it's image & values, but in an environment that looks safer & more cared-for.

    It's a shame because we could be such a united community & that Pie Shop with the same tradition & values could be a focal point, keeping its style but just in more suitable surroundings, near a family-friendly market where everyone - not just a few - could browse happily, shop or just sit and talk. At the moment people don't want to go there because it is ugly & depressing.

    Maybe the council leader said something at the meeting that he can't deliver, I don't know. But it won't be the first time a politician has done that. I was told that the developers cannot meet modern infrastructure requirements with commercial deliveries, fire access, etc without much wider access & the buildings are now too weak structurally to be incorporated into a new design that will pass. I don't know if that is fact, but to save the market & make it a good place for all of us to enjoy something has to change.

  10. Not wanting to be personal but we all have a price or most of us anyway. So do the shopkeepers get new shops in this deal. That's one thing if they do but they should get good compensation either way and maybe they are'nt being offered enough & that could be the real problem.