Friday, 27 January 2012

Shepherd's Bush Market: Their day in Court

The battle between traders and the Council over the future of our Market looks set to be decided in a Court room in May this year.

I reported back in May last year that the traders had won permission from the High Court to initiate proceedings for a judicial review of the way in H&F Council has gone about the process. The legal challenge is based on a claim that our Council have failed to follow proper procedure.

The wheels of British justice turn very slowly, so it will be almost a year to the day before the Court hears the case. I understand that two dates have been provisionally allocated, at the beginning or end of that month.

The political anoraks among you will also realise that the Court dates fall after the Mayoral election in London, which is actually where the future of the Market will really be decided. If Boris wins, the scheme will go ahead in its present form in all likelihood. If Ken wins it will probably be binned as he hinted heavily when I interviewed him during his visit to the Pie & Mash shop that is set to be knocked down as part of the scheme. Just like the King Street scheme.

So ... high stakes!

UPDATE SATURDAY - The dates are confirmed - a two day behind-closed-doors hearing on May 15-16. Meanwhile I am hearing that Council Leader Stephen Greenhalgh may meet the owners of some of the Goldhawk Shops, who have invited me along too. Will report back. 


  1. Apart from the pie and mash shop the market is a bit of dump. It is marketed as in interesting historic London market but in reality it is full of tat and low quality food of dubious provenance. Even the much lauded falaffel place at the top is not as good as people make out. As much as I would hate to see bland chain shops replacing it, I can't say I will find it much of a loss. I think most of the objections stem from the fact it is the Conservatives behind it.

  2. No I think you are being shortsighted. The market offers probably the most diverse range of foodstuffs at affordable prices on this side of London. Waitrose it ain't but do you ever do a weekly shop and compare? For those folk who can't afford the non 'dubious' (what do you mean by dubious provenance?) nature of supermarket fodder, the market is essential. The plastic plate topper design of the proposed development would be a blight on the area - imagine how this will look in a few years. Horrible. I like the way Shepherds Bush looks and I like the old buildings (mixed with the new) and sense of history and place they bring to life in this area. Love it or not the market looks the way it does because it is a street market. The market is and has been a major element in Shepherds Bush life and gives us a kind of variety and diversity that is becoming rare - once it is destroyed it will be gone forever. The chain stores which will occupy it's place will bring a homogeneity and blandness to the area, rendering our beloved Bush much the same as any other over developed bland retail park. Nothing special at all. Right now I think we do live in a special area which is being increasingly damaged by the proliferation of luxury investment properties and retail units.

  3. On the contrary, it is short-sighted to think it should not be updated. The whole thing will be closed down before long otherwise and that would be such a shame.

    Anyone can see that the market could be improved. OK, don't do away with the individual food stalls, etc. but for the sake of hygiene and modern standards alone it is obvious that it cannot carry on as it is.

    It needs to be a lot more attractive to everyone if it is to survive. I used to go there twice a week but honestly, I find it depressing to look at now.

  4. brett sinclair27 January 2012 14:01

    I don't think either mayor should have the power of veto or otherwise over this.

    It's a local matter. Neither of them live here and the market is not a London-wide matter.

    They should both have the grace to stay out of it.

  5. brett sinclair27 January 2012 14:09

    By the way, does anyone know if this case will decide about the whole market regeneration - or is it just about one part of it?

    Presumably if the court rules that due procedure with the shops was not followed, it doesn't necessarily mean the whole development in cancelled.

    It might just be a matter of re-processing that part properly.

    Any legal/planning bods out there who can enlighten me?

  6. If the court rules against the council, it will probably not mean the end of the development, but the council will have to restart the consultation process.

    For what it's worth, I think the market is a valuable local amenity, but some smartening up wouldn't go amiss. Some of the nooks and crannies are medieval.

    1. brett sinclair27 January 2012 15:18

      Thanks, Anoymous.

      I agree it is a valuable local amenity, but the trouble is not local many people now want to use it.

      It could actually be the life & soul of our community if it appealed to everyone and looked the part.

  7. I agree with both sides of the arguement. Having a new high rise hanging over the market will do nothing to attract people as the purpose of a market is being outside in the natural light.

    Both entrances to the Market presently do nothing for the imagination to attract you in. With a little imagination to attract new people in it could rise again as many folk relish diversity away from bland shopping centres.Tradition is important to keep but we also need some spice in our lives.

  8. brett sinclair27 January 2012 18:27

    So the issue seems to be the height of the flats and the demolition of the shops.

    My guess is that the plans have been submitted with the block deliberately too high in the expectation that the planners will reduce the height to an acceptable level, leaving the builders with the maximum possible.

    As for the shops, with the exception of the Pie Shop, they look so unloved with bricked-up windows, unsympathetic alterations and crumbling walls that I find it difficult to accept that the shopkeepers have the interests of the buildings at heart.

    I can't help wondering whether it is the terms that are being offered that is the real issue.

    I know money is not everything, but a change of terms might be a solution.

  9. brett sinclair29 January 2012 00:37

    Chris, I am a near resident of the market & have followed this from the start. I know you may just be at the meeting as an observer, but judging by your blog you see sense. If there is any possibility of a compromise being reached and the market improved as a result I am sure the community would benefit for generations, even centuries, ahead.

    The issue of flats & shops aside, the plans for the market itself are actually really good and will give us a community space that is sociable and people-friendly. At the moment we have an urban sprawl in Shepherd's Bush besieged by traffic and noise but no real heart where people can meet, chat & get everyday things in really pleasant surroundings.

    If we don't somehow get this market improved we'll just end up with another indoor shopping centre with flats and offices on the site anyway, because they'll close it and sell the land. That would be a tragic waste of heritage. There has to be a way round the problem. Maybe you can see it.

    And before anyone accuses me of having vested interests, I don't, except as a resident and a fan of decent architecture. A bit like Prince Charles without the class.

  10. Does anyone know who owns the land that the Market sits on? Is it the Council, or do the market traders own their patches? Or is it owned by a private landlord?

  11. Yes - TfL - as we learned from this story in May 2010

    1. What about the pie and mash shop and the other shops on Goldhawk road which are scheduled for demolition - do they own their buildings? If so it would seem rather hard on them.

    2. This is a confusing bit. It's strange because I got chatting to a couple of them a year or so back & they said they couldn't wait to get out. I was told its mainly leases, so perhaps the landowners are happy to sell but the tenants don't want to move because they aren't happy about the compensation or new premises or something. It must be unsettling for them and a risk moving maybe but with all the publicity & new footfall it could work out really well for them too.

  12. i agree that the market is a dump. there are some diverse stalls but it is spoilt by all the trash. in the summer it smells bad.
    get on with a new development and quick.
    although i do sympathise with the pie shop and perhaps the tatty shops that get pulled down should get first oportunity for a plot?
    i dont really see the problem with the flats. i guess some will be social housing so wont we all benefit?

    1. The flats look a big block in the pictures but when i looked at the model in the library last summer they were sort of an E shape with open sqares. So they might not be that bad.

  13. brett sinclair29 January 2012 16:01

    Yes, TFL mostly, but I understand that a few of the trading plots (four or five) are owned freehold. The theatre has control of the garden beside the old library. That has been incorporated into the regeneration plan but they will use it.

    All entrances are effectively 'ransom strips' owned by the council I think.

    The 'New Shepherds Bush Market' is expected to follow on with its own regeneration if the other goes ahead. It was owned by Michael Winner's father, along with a lot of the nearby property. Michael sold it in the eighties and it is now owned by a private company.

  14. OK now I am totally confused. What is the difference between "Shepherd's Bush market" and "New Shepherd's Bush Market" I thought there was just one market, running north-south along the railway line between Goldhawk Rd and Uxbridge Rd. Are there two markets?

  15. Oh I see...New Shepherd's Bush market is further down the Uxbridge it

  16. People posting are right - Shepherd's Bush Market is a dump for the most part. Someone was moaning about not being able to buy food from a supermarket. Whilst a slightly hysterical response I think, it is nice to have an alternative. The more fresh produce and the like the better. However, the vast majority of the market is tat. Cheap, nasty, expendable, plastic crap that encourage people to buy shit they don't need - how many mobile phone covers do you need really?

    I also second the post above about the falafel place not being as good as everyone says. It's just not that great. If you want good falafels, you need to go to the farmer's market in Lyric Square on a Thursday.

    In my own experience, my wife and I find that quite a bit of the fresh produce isn't all that fresh and I've been short changed a few times at the first stall off Goldhawk Rd. When pointing this out, I get a "Sorry guv!" response and my real change.

    Whilst I'm not wild about "reblanding" the market, so to speak, into something dull and filled with chains, if you really want a market that is 'vibrant' and interesting, then currently we are 1000 miles away from that.

  17. If you look at the Victorian buildings on the Goldhawk road which are scheduled for demolition they appear to be of very little merit. Perhaps they once were rather attractive (the old photo on this blog suggests that they were), but time has not been kind to them. Most of the stucco has fallen off, leaving rather grungy squat shop fronts which are not particularly attractive. The market is in desperate need of renewal - surely we can all agree on that. I live one street away and I never go there - simply because it is not very nice.

    1. I agree. Given the massive overall benefits of a refurbished market to the scene in the bush it would be a small price to pay because although they are quite old they are not that special & they look like they could fall down anyway!
      Not a small price to pay for the shopkeepers of course but they should be given proper compensation if they have to leave but maybe it is for the greater good if it has to be done.

  18. brett sinclair29 January 2012 18:00

    I honestly believe that the regeneration plan will not be 'reblanding' with chains, etc.

    I'm an architecture nerd so I know the architect is Robin Partington, highly regarded internationally and senior architect for Lord Foster. He recently started his own firm.

    The idea is to make it community focused, with two small town squares, one at the theatre entrance and one in the centre of the market. They'll have benches & trees & can be used for small festivals, etc.

    They want more pitches with better refreshment facilities and some more creative stalls (eg fashion stalls run by graduates from the fashion college in Lime Grove). The All the current traders are guaranteed replacement pitches with rent held for 3 years min. The replacement stalls will be different in style & the last I heard this was still under discussion.

    The arches will be cleaned & refurbished with plate glass frontages, but keep their Victorian look. The idea is to emphasise the local history & culture.

    They have recognised that this patch of land included the heart of the original village of Shepherds Bush (about 24 dwellings until 1800) and they want to re-establish it as our 'village centre' once again so that the people can feel ownership of it again and it is connected to its past history.

    It's a pity that this sincere side of it all has got a bit lost in all the shouting, because I think it could really give Shepherds Bush something fantastic.

    1. Festivals- a bit of jazz would do it for me. I'd even be happy if we got a brass band on a Saturday now & then- that might get me in. I donlt want those statue mime-artists though thanks.

    2. Quiet jazz quartet. Occasional brass band. Perfect for me too. Can it really happen? Let it Be, please.

  19. Lawyers love stamping on dreams babe.

  20. For me it's about quality of life and to be honest around here quality of life is fairly shit. Okay things have improved and you can just about buy anything with westfield and the rest of it, but the place has turned into a bloody roundabout. Those shops and the shabby market are the biggest example yet of how run down this place has got.
    Whats the problem? This market sounds good. God I'd love brass bands and decent market stalls and a square but I'm not going to get it unless I get on a train and get out of here. There's nothing except bloody pound shops and chicken takeaway crap or corporate glitzy shite in westfield.
    A cheerful market and a brass band and trees in a square sounds bloody good to me. and it would be one thing for a change that would be good.
    Why do we have to put up with this crap? For god's sake stop agonising over this, someone wants to give us a decent market. Let them get on with it for the sake of our health before there's no quality of life left around here.

  21. RE:
    'A cheerful market and a brass band and trees in a square sounds bloody good to me. and it would be one thing for a change that would be good.

    Why do we have to put up with this crap? For god's sake stop agonising over this, someone wants to give us a decent market. Let them get on with it for the sake of our health before there's no quality of life left around here.'

    Fair comment!

  22. LBHF Planning Committee to consider the market plans 8th Feb next Wednesday and Orion meeting market traders this evening, I gather.

  23. Looks like the support for this development is resounding. Not that a Labour cynic like Slaughter would ever admit that.

  24. brett sinclair31 January 2012 10:32

    I hope they see how good this can be for poor old Shepherd's Bush. The shopkeepers need to be properly compensated, but let's hope the Planning Committee have the vision to see that the people need a local heart in the Bush so that the place remains on a human scale.

    A really interesting, forward thinking market with space for residents and visitors to mingle, chat and have time for peaceful interaction is something that could bring humanity back here, improve people's respect for each other & give the huge mix of people something positive & cultural that we can have in common.

  25. Don't know what Andy Slaughter' says about this but really i don't think it needs to be politicised - it's about heritage & culture actually. The shops that are to be replaced have a little heritage value....but really what ever they once had has been trashed.
    You've got to think of all the other heritage & culture of the market - that's dying but with some surgery & a new lease of life it could be culture & heritage that'll last into the future....It's centenery year i think for the market in 2014 (someone said?). If so would be a good bit of history to get it ready for then maybe.
    You can't make an omelette with breaking eggs after all.

    1. ps...having said that the pie shop is good with its sign & people seem to like it but i would say for me i would like it modernised a bit inside. Maybe they could just replace the shops & give them the same spots as they have now but new premises?

  26. "The arches will be cleaned & refurbished with plate glass frontages, but keep their Victorian look. The idea is to emphasise the local history & culture." The arches leak like sieves and the only way to solve this is to reline them inside (can't shut down H&C line and take up the rails to repair from above)and so you lose the "Victorian look". Still, I expect that they can be made to look a great deal better.
    Same problem up near Wood Lane station arches. Pity TFL did not think to sort this out while the line was closed for platform extension (common sense?) and you might go so far as to point the finger at TFL for mismanagement and lack of investment in the market for decades.
    Perhaps LBHF should have compulsorarily purchased the market a while back and invested. I bet it would have cost less than the recent and ongoing exercise!

  27. The fabric shops along Goldhawk road are a unique resource, sure the buildings they are housed in are decrepit but no where else in London is there the vast range of (affordable) fabric in such a small area. Clearly people have just glanced at the building taking no account of the benefits that the businesses contained with in them bring to London's fashion film and theatre industries not to mention homesewers. Believe it or not people do travel to London in order to shop there. The market on the other hand desperately needs cleaning up and rationalising.