Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Market: Council claim victory, shopkeepers fight on

The High Court today backed our Council over their plan to demolish the Market in order that nine floors of luxury flats can be constructed on top of a new one. The Court had heard from the Goldhawk Road shopkeepers who, having been promised by the Leader of H&F that they would not force their eviction, were served with compulsory purchase orders anyway after the Council swiftly backtracked after private pressure from their colleagues Orion the property developers.

Orion's mock up of the boutique market underneath luxury flats
In Court the Council's lawyers had had the dignity to respect the fact that these people were defending not only a part of our community that many hundreds have come out to support, but also their livelihoods which they had built from nothing over decades, including in one case as refugees from the racist expulsions of Idi Amin.

MODs ride in support of Cooke's Pie & Mash: Bush History
Not our Council themselves though, they are cockahoop. Here's Nick Botterill, Leader of H&F:
“This is a victory for common sense and we can now get on with the important work of breathing new life into Shepherds Bush Market so that future generations can enjoy a vibrant and thriving shopping destination to rival the best in London. 
“The council hopes that all local businesses will work with the developers to take full advantage of the opportunities that the scheme provides to attract new customers to this area of Shepherds Bush.  The offer of new premises remains firmly on the table for businesses wishing to s stay in this location and I hope they will now look carefully at the benefits  of participating in this scheme.”
Mr Botterill fails to mention they would cease to be freeholders and instead become leaseholders of his colleagues Orion, the property developers. One of those is Audrey Broughton, owner of Cooke's Pie & Mash. Here's what she makes of Mr Botterill's victory cry:
Green light?? A bit presumptuous I would suggest. Closing arguments are yet to be heard at the Public Inquiry which has certainly hi-lighted the debacle that this really is and that Andrex is of more use than most of the evidence produced by the Council including the planning officer who is not a planning expert and a lot of evidence where the answer was someone else will answer that. On the day I gave evidence the receptionist handed to me the documents that had been left by the Council in the men’s loos! We will be Appealing and if it means going to the House of Lords and beyond that is where we are heading. The Market Traders are still submitting extra evidence to the Inquiry as it does not close until the 25th of November. As per usual this Council has chosen to use certain aspects of the media to spread misinformation. We are not going anywhere for a very very very long time.
I will leave local readers to judge which newspaper she has in mind for spreading misinformation.

So is the fight over? Other shopkeepers also think not. Aniza Meghani (who you can see above not being pushed about by a clearly irritated Boris) told me last night that an appeal is already being prepared, saying:
"The Public Inquiry was a complete shambles. Its an embrassment that the scheme has so many flows right down to the figures. Nothing is assigned clearly to s106. We will be appealing all the way!"
We learned in April that even this Council has conceded that the real outcome of this scheme lies with the local elections in May next year. The protracted fight they have faced from people who refused to back down have left them out of time. And Andy Slaughter MP is equally clear that the fight is not over either. Speaking to me tonight he declared:
"The overwhelming opposition of residents, traders and the Goldhawk Road shopkeepers who will see their businesses demolished was clear during the two weeks of the recent compulsory purchase order enquiry. Over 200 people made formal objection to the scheme which is about building nine stories of luxury flats at the expense of the existing occupiers of the site. Not one person other than the developer and the council supported the scheme.

So the resistance to the destruction of this historic, vibrant and important part of Shepherds Bush will continue. It is increasingly obvious that the antipathy to the landscape and communities of the borough will continue as long as the current extremist Conservative council holds power. Their wrecking schemes and social engineering will be a major issue at next May’s local elections". 
Indeed it will. 

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