Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Shepherd's Bush Market: Council steamroller on

A meeting took place earlier this week between property developers Orion and the traders of our Market.

I wasn't able to attend but our MP Andy Slaughter did, and wrote this on his website today.

The meeting took place on Monday at Bush Hall.

Speaking on his website he said:

"Last Monday’s meeting with Orion did very little to clear up the uncertainty in relation to the development of the market itself. The loss of affordable residential accommodation in the area and the demolition of an historic row of shops are not given enough weight in the report to the planning committee. In addition to the implications of the development on the livelihoods of the market traders, there is the scandal of losing 27 flats for homeless people, the Daycentre and the shops on Goldhawk Road – all for the sake of 212 mainly luxury high-rise flats".

Aside from the detail of the meeting it is clear, as it always has been and despite promises made to the contrary by Council Leader Stephen Greenhalgh, that the infamous planning committee will - shock horror - approve the plans despite the reservations of residents. Remind you of anything? At all?

The real realities of this situation seem to me to be twofold - Firstly, and away from the theatre of what will be another farcical planning committee next Wednesday, the real power decision is actually going to be made in the Courts during May 15-16 as a result of the judicial review brought by the shopowners who stand to lose their buildings on Goldhawk Road over abuse of process by our Council.

Secondly, and several weeks before that Court date, a certain Mr Boris Johnson has an appointment with the electors of London. If Ken Livingstone keeps his slender lead and wins that election, these plans in their entirety will be binned because the Mayor's approval is needed for them under the terms of the London Plan.

You can bet your bottom brick that Orion is hoping for a Tory victory...


  1. And by the way you write Chris, you're hoping for a Labour victory.

    Slaughter's reactionary drivel is risible. Any reasonable points he makes are drowned out by phony tub-thumping. He uses the term "high-rise" like a dirty word, yet look at the real high-rises slightly down the road: the council flats built opposite Shepherd's Bush tube, under a Labour council. Those flats have become sink estates in the sky. The design for these new flats looks far superior. As for them being "luxury" flats, what's the bet MOST OF THEM COST FAR LESS THAN SLAUGHTER'S VICTORIAN TOWN HOUSE. The man is a hypocrite.

    Where the homeless lose accommodation it should be replaced and improved upon, as with all other business/residential/community premises. But Slaughter's jaded socialist posturing is an anachronism, a jaded relic from the Bush's dark days of grim, windswept streets courtesy of Labour profligacy and inefficiency.

  2. I still find them unattractive, but there's a judge who owns a 'penthouse' flat in that estate you refer to as "sink".
    But I digress, the developer of the market, Orion, led by Chris Horn (who used to work for Southwark Council and understands exactly how developers can operate in cahoots with the council), admitted in a meeting that they were intending to spend £2 million on Shepherds Bush Market. Yippee doo! Orion will probably sell their 2-bed luxury flats for £400,000 - almost 300 of them - so you can see how £2 million is a drop in the ocean for them and isn't going to improve the market much as it needs far more spent on it. I have no idea how much Andy Slaughter's house cost but quite frankly this is irrelevant. No one who needs social housing will be housed in these flats and that is a disgrace in itself.
    Also, let's be totally honest here, if you could afford to buy a luxury flat in west London, would you choose to buy it in the middle of Shepherd's Bush Market with the Hammersmith and City and Circle lines thundering by, not to mention the noise, bustle, pollution etc...?
    The design for these flats is also very high, at least 7 storeys, so would look very out of place with the surroundings. Also for the development to go ahead we would have to lose a parade of shops on the Goldhawk Road which has been there for well over a hundred years and which have nothing to do with the market - they don't want space inside the market - they are high street shops and thriving.
    Finally, the homeless accommodation will not be improved upon. It will be of poorer quality and the council's intention is to move it to a highly residential street, with many families and elderly people - Lime Grove. The homeless (in this case very dependent alcoholics and drug addicts, often with mental health problems) will be offered inferior facilities to their current ones and residents will have to put up with noise, chaotic behaviour on their street, more drug dealing, shooting up, fights, shouting in the middle of the night, pools of vomit etc...
    All so that a developer - Orion - can reap the profits of building 300 flats in the area. And they are big profits that won't go back into the community but no doubt some of them might find themselves wending their way into the pockets of council officials... or ex-council officials...

  3. Is it just a coincidence that the last time this came up in any major fashion the police did a drugs raid on the market... And now the developers have met the traders and a court date has been set, police have finally released full details of that raid?

    I'm all for getting drug dealers off the street, but it seems a little bit too convenient...

    1. Don't tell me, you also think there's a conspiracy of silence about aliens landing in Utah and that American astronauts never got to the moon.

  4. Is Andrew Slaughter ever going to say anything positive or constructive about anything in Shepherds Bush? I've yet to hear it if he has.

    His response is so sad and predictable.

    For goodness sake Mr Slaughter, have your say about keeping the grim accommodation that behind the 'historic' row of shops, speak for the market traders (although many I have spoken to seem broadly in favour) but can you not even concede that there are good cultural and social reasons why the market and residents could benefit hugely from an improved market?

    You just have to look at the place to see it needs massive improvement but you seem unable to acknowledge this. The shops are old. In my book that does not equate to 'historic'.

    You might think that your stance appeals to your core voters, but there are a lot of people like me who sometimes vote Labour. Like most of my neighbours I own a home near the market. Everyone I know - and I say this without exception - is very much in favour of having this scheme go ahead, because we want to see the area improve.

    We don't want to see it languish and degenerate into a no-go graffiti zone. I'm not as middle class as you are probably. But you need people like me to vote for you and at the moment I'm getting the feeling that you are not listening and refusing to see that this improvement is what we want.

    1. "Whilst everyone that I have spoken to agrees that the Market and surrounding area would benefit from sensitive regeneration and investment, they also agree that this is not what the scheme will deliver."
      You clearly didn't get to the end of Mr Slaughter's first paragraph before sticking the boot in....
      Seems to me he does want a better Shepherds Bush Market: he just agrees with lots of local people (of which he is one, I believe) that this isn't the scheme that will do it.
      Who is taking the council to Court? is that Slaughter, or has that been organised by local people? Genuine question - the answer would be most informative....

    2. It's the owners of the Goldhawk Road shops that stand to be demolished. Nothing to do with Andy Slaughter.

    3. I doubt it's nothing to do with him. He's a barrister and local MP with a keen interest in the matter, I imagine he'll have provided advice and support.

      It's not clear what Slaughter's idea of sensitive regeneration would be. What exactly would he propose as a reasonable development of the area? He wants low cost housing, but low density, meanwhile retaining the original row of shops - doesn't sound like much scope for real regeneration there. I suggest Slaughter's ultimate beef is with the Tory council, otherwise his dialogue would have a more constructive and less adversarial tone.

    4. I think it's fair to say that at least Cookes shop is historic. Not just old.

      There also used to be a pub on the corner, The Railway Arms, now part of a fabric shop. Opposite was the Railway Tavern, latterly the Bushranger and, er, Stinging Nettle.

      Yes, the shops are now fairly unprepossessing and nondescript, but they were not always that way.

      Yes, those horrible council-branded entrances at each end need doing way with.

      But this propsed development is completely out of scale with the rest of the area. Nobody in their right minds would put a development of up to eight stories there (yes 8 at highest point, when I last looked at the proposals).

      It would also be a paradies for thieves, burglars and muggers, with all those bolt holes handy nearby. Ideal at a time when police numbers and hours are being cut.


  5. I note there is nothing about what was said at the meeting between Orion and the Traders.

    Perhaps it went better than expected.

  6. I would say that any local politician might think he or she is courting popularity by throwing objections at this project. But if we are left with no hope of improvement around here because you have helped to scupper this badly needed investment you will be surprised by how many people will turn against you.

    There may have been 114 letters of objection - and I have checked this - but it is wrong to imply that they are all from individuals. Actually they are from campaign groups who have either a vested interest in objecting or who are not even situated in the area.

    That leaves about a million or so people in the same vicinity who have not objected. Otherwise known as the silent majority who don't want to live in a shanty town, see the value of their homes drop while the shops crumble and the market closes and would like to allow someone to improve the market along with their quality of life and the local environment.

    These people are the people who you are now alienating.

    1. I am afraid you simply have your facts wrong. And it is particularly unfortunate that you so confidently claim to have checked, them, because this gives your inaccurate information an air of plausibility it does not merit. The officers report does indeed say there are 114 letters - but it also says that they ARE from individuals,(even gives addresses on p118!) and quite separate from the objection received from Groups. It also says that of the 114, 113 are against the plan and 1 is for it! Do please check this - it's para 2.7 on p132 of the officers report.
      Your claim that there are 1 million people in the same vicinity is nonsense as well, unless by vicinity you mean out as far as Twickenham and Enfield. And besides, however many people have not responded to the plans, what gives you the right to reply for them or to know what they think?
      If you want to post on a site like this and be taken seriously in a debate, you really ought to get your facts right - if you care about the area and want people to make decisions for themselves, you should be aware of the responsibility you have to try to furnish them with correct information.....

  7. Should have been possible to improve the market which most are in favour of without having to demolish a row of separate and unrelated businesses and without construction an out of place block of flats, which many are opposed to. And without pushing a hostel out into a residential area with the "unintended consequences".

  8. Having said that, I'd imagine that the readers of this blog fall into a different socio-economic group to those who frequent the market.

    There are also racial and religious differences that need to be looked at and catered for; there are a lot of Halal butchers, etc, in the market. Whilst I wouldn't go anywhere near them myself, they're very much needed until places like Tesco properly cater for these needs... And if the market is improved, it's likely that these traders will be forced out...

    I'd much rather that the mish-mash of rubbish (and not-so-rubbish) that is Uxbridge Road was fixed, first. Personally.

    1. Why would halal butchers be particularly likely to be forced out? In any case, there are halal butchers on both the Goldhawk and the Uxbridge Roads. Are you including them in the 'mish-mash of rubbish'? On that subject, one can only wonder at the local appetite for fried chicken.

  9. There is still room for compromise.

    It seems that most or all of us who live locally, including Andy Slaughter, want to see the market regenerated. We are very near having that prize within our grasp.

    Baring in mind that some people will always feel a genuine sense of loss when building works are approved, it must be possible to build metaphorical bridges.

    If those who feel aggrieved are offered generous compensation and recompense for their loss it should be possible for everyone in the community to benefit from an imaginative new market.

    Maybe Andy Slaughter could work towards this too, if he is not already. It would be a noble gesture that would be recognised widely in the future I feel sure.