Friday, 25 May 2012

Goldhawk Road Traders defeat Council?!

Some breaking, and if true, sensational news from the Goldhawk Road Traders who looked set to be demolished by our Council and property developers Orion. As the 'last chances' were demolished one by one the judicial review into the way in which our Council has behaved over the issue looked set to be the last chance saloon.

Writing earlier this morning on the Facebook page leading campaigner Aniza Meghani, who I interviewed for the guardian here, has said this:

"Yipeeeeeeeeeeeee! yabadabadoooooo! WE HAVE WON! We would like to thank you all for yr wonderful support, prayers, motivation and enthusiasm, in keeping up with this case. We the Goldhawk Road Traders, would like to thank firstly, to the three Angels of Shepherd's Bush, who came into our shops almost 2yrs ago and informed us that we were to be demolished. They are, Coll, Kimi and Elaine. Their guidance and support has led us to where we are today. Also our special thanks to Sarah Gates, for putting up this Facebook page up. We would like to THANK OUR LAWYER AND HIS LEGAL TEAM, Michael Webster of WEBSTER DIXON LLP, OUR QC GREGORY JONES AND WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK LORD JUSTICE WILKIE FOR RESTORING FAITH IN OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM. ONEC AGAIN, THANK YOU ALL XXX"

Well, that's pretty clear. It looks like our Council's determination to ride roughshod over local people has been pole-axed once again by the little people who just wouldn't lie down and see their livelihoods and the character of the Bush bulldozed. You can see Aniza's determination in the video above when she first doesn't sit down and shut up as our Assembly Member Kit Malthouse was trying to get her to do, and then puts Boris on the spot. We later found out his expression of regret was less than sincere since he himself had signed the papers giving the scheme the go-ahead and must have known this as he was answering Aniza's questions.

I understand that the ruling means that the knocking down of their buildings cannot now go ahead. 

It also gives new Council Leader Nick Botterill, who inherits this mess from outgoing Leader Stephen Greenhalgh, the opportunity to take a fresh look at how these people have been treated thus far. I hope he takes it.

More details soon. You know where you read it first. And I plan on going along to the inevitable victory party in the sun - see you there!!!

1100 UPDATE: Details of the Court decision:

High Court ruling to overturn a decision of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham to adopt a Supplementary Development Plan (SDP) for the regeneration of the Shepherd’s Bush Market in West London.

The 13 successful claimants are freehold or leasehold owners of various trading premises between 30-52 Goldhawk Road which is a terrace of shops, cafes and restaurants fronting onto the Goldhawk Road in Shepherd’s Bush. Although the Goldhawk Road shops were not part of the market they were set to be demolished as part of the regeneration of the area which included the building of over 200 flats by the property developer, Orion. Mr Justice Wilkie quashed the decision of the Council to adopt the SDP on the grounds of:

(i)That its decision was procedurally flawed in that it failed to follow the proper procedure for adopting a Development Planning Document (DPD).

(ii)It is procedurally flawed in that adopting a document that was a DPD failed to conduct a sustainability assessment.

(iii)Whether or not the document was a DPD or an SPD the decision to adopt it on 27 October 2010 was procedurally flawed because it failed to apply its mind to whether an environmental assessment was required before adopting it, pursuant to the 2004 Environmental Assessment Regulations.

1215 UPDATE - Some emotional reactions from the traders:

Aniza Meghani, the owner of Classic Textiles Limited stated

“Our victory is a vindication of our objections to the Council’s plans to incorporate our shops into a redevelopment that is disproportionate, ill conceived and that has not been subject to proper public scrutiny. The High Court has ruled decisively in our favour that the Council has acted unlawfully in trying to push through their plans without the proper scrutiny required for a development that would undoubtedly be of significant change to the area and involve the demolition of our shops. Many of our businesses have been established for decades and it has never been our wish to be part of the regeneration scheme as we are not part on the market. It is our intention to continue with our fight to retain our shops and we will seek to challenge the existing planning permission and also to have that quashed or otherwise withdrawn. This Council has a reputation for not listening to the people that it serves and clearly had its own agenda in seeking avoid full public scrutiny of its redevelopment plans.” 

Michael Boughton, the owner of the famous of Cooke’s Pie and Mash shop, stated

“The court’s decision is a clear message to the council that small independent shopkeepers should not be ignored when they have genuine concerns about regeneration plans that directly impact their business. The irony is that our parade of shops does not form part of the market yet the council felt the need to demolish buildings without considering any viable alternatives. The pie and mash shop been located on the same site for 113 years and is part of the historical fabric of Goldhawk Road. We are not against regeneration where it is appropriate but the council’s plans were never about the redevelopment of the market, but the building of 200 flats with their preferred developer Orion. Let’s hope my shop will continue to exist for the next 100 years.” 

Michael Webster, a Partner in the firm of Webster Dixon representing the Claimants said

“the decision of Mr Justice Wilkie is a damning indictment of the Council’s planning practices and procedures; even one of the grounds would have been enough to quash the decision however the Judge found in our favour on three grounds. Despite several warnings the Council continued to plough on with their unlawful policy of the regeneration of the market. In our view the purpose of the regeneration was not the market itself but the development of 200 flats for which the developer Orion stands to make millions of pounds. The Council has in reality used the SPD procedure to prepare a policy which ought properly to have been subjected to a more detailed examination and public scrutiny, circumventing the more time consuming and expensive procedures attached to DPDs and its adoption is as a consequence, unlawful. The Council should now reconsider its position to ensure that it complies with its lawful obligations to allow proper public scrutiny and consultation of its regeneration policies.”

1730 UPDATE - Well our Council have gone into full spin mode putting out an article on their own website that appears to be written as if the court decision was just a silly old bit of jackanapes and we can all carry on as normal anyway, can't we? Here's what a spokesperson told me this afternoon:

"This judgement does not affect the regeneration plans or the legality of the recently issued planning consent. The Shepherds Bush Market regeneration scheme represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hugely improve the market and surrounding area. It will increase retail expenditure by more than £3million a year and will create numerous new jobs. The vast majority of Shepherds Bush residents support these plans along with many of the market traders. The Goldhawk Road businesses have been offered a fantastic deal by the developer, including the chance to return to new, larger shop units on the Goldhawk Road.”

Er, sorry matey, I'm afraid that's not true. The Council are now relying on the technicality that they also used another document which was not subject to the Courts' deliberations. So ner-ner Judge we'll knock 'em down anyway.

Their problem is that the traders have also got lawyers behind them (now being paid by our Council since they were forced to pay the traders legal fees for having lost) and their legal understanding is very different. Here's what one of them told me late this afternoon:

"they can't go ahead, because there are [now] no plans to guide them. although Orion has submitted planning application, we are going to court on that to be squashed too. In reality, the borough has no plans to guide them anymore so they have to start the whole process again".

The Council will counter that they've been advised by their lawyers that they can. The problem is that those are the same lawyers who just lost a case, so I know which ones I'd believe.

So ner-ner back H&F - now then, how about listening to people instead of property developers?

MONDAY UPDATE - Planning Magazine, which specialises in, well, guess what - has also agreed with the traders view of what the court ruling means, contrary to our Council's spin. Here's what they have to say:

On Friday, Mr Justice Wilkie ruled that in preparing the document the council failed to follow the proper procedure for adopting such an important policy document.

He said that the council failed to identify the document in advance as an "area action plan", and that as a result failed to consider whether it was in accordance with the existing development plan for the area.

And he found that it failed to apply its mind to whether an Environmental Impact Assessment should be carried out prior to adopting the document on 27 October 2010.

As a result, the council will be forced to reconsider the matter, potentially placing a stumbling block in the way of the redevelopment, for which outline planning permission has since been granted to developer Orion Shepherd’s Bush Ltd.

The ruling could prove a setback if and when Orion seeks to secure full permission to proceed with its plans.


  1. I guess that sets that judicial cat among the planning pigeons!

  2. Awesome news. Now, how do we get the shops listed?

  3. Fantastic news! Delighted for the traders :)
    So the council has wasted £140,000 of taxpayers money defending their legally flawed bid to ride roughshod over local people's wishes (plus they'll now be eligible for the costs of the case) - and they still have the arrogance to say this changes nothing.

  4. Can someone please explain the Town Hall's spin on the above: Green light for Shepherds Bush Market regeneration

  5. Well, protected.

    I haven't met anyone who when presented with the facts or detail of the case is in favour of knocking down the shops.

    The market could do with a bit of TLC all round, granted. Maybe some of the s106 money from Westfield could have gone into it? Bit late now, but there will be plenty of planning gain money slooshing around, which we know the council won't be spending on social housing...


  6. Good news, so maybe the Traders can pay the community back by tidying up the buildings a little bit?

    1. Too right; maybe if the buildings in that section of the Goldhawk Rd were kept up to scratch maybe more of the local community would be against the proposed redevelopment. As it is the buildings are in a major state of disrepair and really need tidying up.

  7. Chris, once again thank you for continous support! love it when you present TRUE FACTS, WHICH THE COUNCIL ALWAYS TRYS TO DENIES. We have had NO DIRECT DEALIG WITH Orion, to say, we have been offered a "fantastic deal", ITS A LIE!

  8. Well done to the traders. They've shown H&F council that they can't just behave in their typically Tory way and simply disregard those they consider beneath them.

    I wish I was still in th UK so I could pop into their shops and congratulate them personally (and get a couple of bacon sarnies from Zippy's on the way...)

  9. Great. Now we can have our crappy market stay just as crappy as it has always been. Shame on these wicked developers who were trying to build something that people would actually want to come and visit.

  10. Sorry - apart from the owners, why would anyone 'want to come and visit' over 200 luxury flats? You do realise this has nothing to do with the market? I think everyone - even the market traders themselves recognise that the market is 'crappy' and in need of refurbishment. This is about our council aiding a developer to profiteer at our expense. These shops aren't even part of the market - they are family businesses that have been running for years. They were faced with compulsory purchase orders because they were in the way - to be demolished to create access to the flats. We all want the market and the area to improve, but you are deluded to think that this anything other than a self serving profiteering exercise - in which the 'redevelopment of the market' is spin to get it approved.

    1. As part of the development they were going to regenerate the rest of the market, thereby making more people 'want to come and visit'! that was the compromise.

      I live down the road, i occasionally wander past and grab a falafel, buy some fruit at teh uxbridge rd end but would love to actually be given a reason to spend more time and money there. iPhone covers, shite clothes and fake samsonite suitcases aren't exactly going to fly off the shelves! Nor or they anything to be protected. A regeneration and thus more footfall would give stall holders the opportunity to upscale their merchandise as new clientele would arrive (look at other markets in London - not wembley).

      I'm afraid it is you that is deluded. Do you expect private investors to come in and redevelop areas for the fun of it. of course they need a return on their investment. Of course they need profit, but we need to compromise if we want progress and improvement that would benefit all.

      Granted the council buggered up in the way they went about it, but for the benefit of a couple of shops staying where they have always been rather than being relocated, we have lost a massive opportunity for the area and the rest of the stall owners.


  11. Hi Chris,

    I think you should take the question mark off your's '!' not '?'

    But I have a question: how can LBHF possibly respond the way they have?...surely they've lost...end of!

  12. its true its all about restoring faith in the justice system.

    Now i hope the retailers energy will be focused on getting a few paint brushes out and spend a little time making their shop walls and fronts attractive-paint costs a little but will make a world of difference to these buildings and restore the original architectual features which will attract customers

    1. I hope so too..
      The market needs to be redeveloped, it looks so runned down.

      Not sure we should keep it the way it is to preserve the childhood memories of a bunch of people. To the outsider, it looks very neglected!

      I've just read also that some residents opposed to the building of cafe in the Shepherd's Bush Green to keep thugs away.
      Not sure this is the way forward. We need to believe Shepherd's Bush is improving and allow for such developments to happen.
      Not at the expense of listed buildings of course. But we should welcome change.

  13. To be honest, I think it is a shame that they are not allowed to build the flats. It would have been good for the area. The shops are in such disrepair anyway.

    1. Too right it's a shame. Who cares about some dumpy, decaying shopfronts? They're ugly and run down. The owners would have been compensated for their trouble and get new, nicer premises. Now the only winners are a bunch of fat lawyers getting paid at the public expense to block what would have been a great opportunity to make our very run down neighbourhood a bit nicer.

    2. How is more flats good for the area? Do we need or want ever increasing population density without any investment in infrastructure or public space? Let alone social housing?

      The new flats would have been at the expense of local shops that are well used and valued. No guarantee any of them would return and they'd have lost their character.

      At least with Westfield they paid for a new overground station, extra bobbies and a revamped (finally) green.


      PS Please sign off your comments, at least with a name. It's nicer to know who we are talking to and avoids provoking suspicion.

    3. These buildings are 140yrs old and are far more structurally stronger then these modern, ugly buildings without character. as for 200 flats nine levels high, in the region of half million each, on top of higher council taxes, and ten yrs to build, i think u r kidding yrdelf, if u think it will bring any character to the area! the shops will restore to its former glory!l leave them alone. it was only because councillor Greenaghl made an issue about it been it of 'poor character' that this whole thing of demolishing them became an issue.personal greed or perhaps personal victory at the cost of the little man!

  14. They do listen to people - they just don't consider ordinary residents people...

  15. Well done to the traders! but I suspect it will only be a temporary victory. The council did not follow correct procedure so lost the case. Presumably they can now 'tick the boxes' and regrant PP to their friends, Orien..... The tories who run LBHF appear to have strong links to several major developers, St Georges for one with their horrendous riverside schemes in Fulham. With Boris re-elected I expect the Town Hall scheme will also be back in the frame. When they designate an 'Opportunity Area' you do wonder who's benefit it is for? certainly not existing residents..... Iain Muir

  16. Or alternatively let Labour back in to run the whole area down while amassing crippling debt and paying themselves fat salaries...

  17. To everyone who thinks the flats would have been a good idea for Shepherds Bush: What planet are you from?

    Not only have the council been using our money to try and sneak around to get money but these shops are apart of our history and provide the fashion industry with fabric! And to say that the market is crappy is just childish. These places have character, yes they made need a little bit of love but thank goodness for them not being sterile! Westfield is a perfect example of sterile, impersonal, and boring shopping. I personally find it much more pleasurable to have a walk down the market or down Goldhawk Road.

  18. I'm really happy to see the traders win their fight. Unfortunately, going by what I saw on Orion's website, even their plans for the market itself are quite poor and building a looming block of flats (for the wealthy, of course - no social tenants here please!) is just the icing on a cake comprised mostly of crap.