Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Council to evict Goldhawk Road shop owners

Compulsory Purchase Orders were served on the owners of the historic row of shops on Goldhawk Road earlier this week in our Council’s latest attempt to ride roughshod over the wishes of local people in the interests of property developers Orion.

The Council’s approach, which has been ruled illegal in the High Court, is to steamroller all before the interests of their colleagues at Orion, despite public assurances given by the then Leader of the Council not to do so.

The shopkeepers, which include Cooke’s Pie & Mash shop, have vowed to organise a petition in opposition, with spokeswoman Aniza Meghani declaring:
“This is going to be one battle to secure our culture and history for life”.
Referring to the support of the community she said:
“We look forward to your continuous support as ever”.
They have it. This Council seems to revel in acting against the wishes of people in the North of the borough, with the full connivance of Boris Johnson, presumably because they don’t vote Conservative. Compare and contrast that with their righteous indignation over the fate of their fellow Fulham residents over the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

THURSDAY UPDATE - Well, our Council has been in touch to put their side of the story and they are far from happy bunnies with the traders. Here's what Council Leader Nick Botterill told me yesterday afternoon:
"For more than a decade, traders and customers have been complaining that the market has been allowed to decline because of a lack of investment. 
"The council has a duty to local people to start these proceedings to prevent further delays to a scheme that will increase retail expenditure by more than £3million a year.
"The Goldhawk Road businesses have been offered a good deal by the developer, including the chance to return to new, larger shop units on the Goldhawk Road. 
That offer is still on the table and this CPO process is a last resort to stop this crucial scheme from protracted hold-ups."
A Council spokesperson also weighed in, and made the following points on behalf of the property developers:

Developer OSBL has been trying to negotiate terms with the Goldhawk Road businesses for 2 years. They refuse to enter negotiations.

The Goldhawk Road businesses have been offered the following by Orion (the developer):

  • All businesses based at 30 to 52 Goldhawk Road have been offered the opportunity to return to the new Goldhawk Road shop units.
  • OSBL has provided very flexible retail space at ground floor and basement levels for the Goldhawk Road retail units.
  • This would give a total net internal area at ground floor level, including rear corridor, of 7,996sq.ft. This represents an increase in area of 296sq.ft. compared to the current size of 7,700sq.ft,
  • The floor to floor heights at ground floor level have been increased to 5.0m, thus providing flexibility to accommodate further storage space and servicing needs.
  • There is a further area of 8,643sq.ft. at basement level, which is a significant increase in area at this level.
  • To cover the costs of professional fees so that each owner/lessee/business in the parade can obtain independent advice.
  • Assistance to make a temporary or permanent move to an available street-based shop unit in or near to Goldhawk Road during the construction proces
That's nice. So in essence what the Council is saying is 'look at all these goodies on offer - take them now or yer out'. I note no reference is made to the very public pledge made by the last Council Leader not to act like this, nor is there any acknowledgement of the wishes of the residents of Pennard Road who will be impacted by the scheme - and who made their views forcefully known at the same meeting

But there's big money to be made in 7 floors of luxury flats, and that big money talks. Loudly.

FRIDAY UPDATE - Labour Opposition Leader Stephen Cowan has responded to the Council's version of events, here's what he said to me this morning:
"The Conservative Administration's approach to these negotiations is thoroughly unfair, an abuse of power and atrocious. By issuing Compulsory Purchase Orders the Council has essentially put a gun to the head of the traders while they are negotiating to save their livelihoods. 
They have done this because they have developed an unhealthy and all-too-close relationship with the property speculator behind the demolition of the market - as they have done with other property speculators elsewhere in the Borough. 
Last year when this was agreed at the Cabinet Meeting the Leader of the Council told me there was on-going negotiations with the traders. I later found out that the Council had refused all contact with the traders for months and that wasn't true. I therefore do not believe that the Council is doing anything other than trying to get these small businesses out and does not care if the deals offered kill off many of the businesses in that part of Shepherds Bush. 
If Labour wins next year we will do everything we can to stop this."


  1. Hmmm.... I live in the north of the Borough and yet think it perfectly possible that the new buildings might be better than the old. Two sides to every question and all that!

  2. PS Great news that Imperial College are planning to invest £1bn around White City (reported in Times, sadly behind paywall

  3. In my opinion, there are far better examples of Victorian architecture in the bush, than what is frankly a dilapidated row.
    If the traders are honestly being offered a good deal, then this would be appear to be best for the bush as a whole.

  4. "If the traders are honestly being offered a good deal, then this would be appear to be best for the bush as a whole."

    Well that's up to them, really, isn't it?

    So historic, much-loved shops get bulldozed, the market gets transformed from a real, working street market into a mockery of its former self and we get more "luxury" flats (a debased word if ever there was one.).

    The Local elections can't come soon enough, to be honest.

  5. If the row of shops was much loved then someone at some point would have paid towards their upkeep but for now the whole row looks like a shambles. I saw a girl being mugged in the lane between the market and the shops just last week - its unpleasant to look at and unsafe. If it wasn't for the Pie&Mash shop then I think it would have been demolished long ago. As another comment states, they're not even fine examples of Victorian architecture.

    I'm broadly in favour of the new development though I would expect more affordable housing - which in this market is pretty loose term!

  6. Compulsory purchase orders should only be used as a last resort. It does raise a good question as to quite how good the deal being offered to the traders is.