Friday, 26 November 2010

Shepherd's Bush Market: Council hail traders' support

Three traders have come out in support of the Council's plans to redevelop the market. Given the high level of opposition to the plans among other traders the Council is quite understandably keen to promote the voices of those in favour. Here's who they are and what they had to say:

Aslam Malik of Moon Foods Cash and Carry, which is situated close to the Goldhawk Road entrance to the market, said: "I have been in the market for 28 years and have owned my shop since 1997. It is impossible to compare the market today with how it used to be 10 or 20 years ago. I do not even get half as much business now as I used to because no one comes here any more.

"The market definitely needs a change because it is going downhill very fast. The way things are going, no one will ever come here in the future. Something needs to be done to save the market and I am very pleased that the council wants to help

"I am completely in favour of what the council is trying to do and I would like to see a full regeneration of the area. However, the one thing that we really need is improvements to the parking".

Waseem Zakaria runs a butchers and a fruit and veg stall in the market. He said: "The market is really struggling at the moment and I am in favour of the council's proposals to regenerate it. However, it is vital the market traders are at the heart of the regeneration and the parking situation is improved.

It is crucial that the traders are treated with respect and I was pleased to read that the council has said that the market will not be closed for one day. If the market was to be closed during the regeneration, I do not think that people will come back. All we ask for is that the traders are treated fairly and the parking problem is addressed

Wahid Abohiga sells CDs and DVDs and runs the first market stall from the Goldhawk Road entrance. He also agreed that something needs to be done to improve the market and surrounding area.

He said: "Since I came here in 1997, the market has taken a turn for the worse. No one comes here any more and there is a very bad atmosphere. These proposals from the council and Orion give me and a lot of traders hope that things will improve. Something needs to be done to bring new people here. The stalls need to be enlarged. If my wife wants to buy a pair of trousers the shop or the stall must have space for her to try it on, otherwise she will just go to Westfield."

The council knows, however, that the vast majority of traders have formed a group to fight the plans. The Cabinet came face-face with them at this bizarre meeting just a couple of weeks ago. They are politely described thus: "not all of the market traders appear to be in favour of the regeneration proposals at the moment"

Er, no. Not to mention the residents of Lime Grove and Pennard Road.

James Horada, Chair of the Shepherds Bush Market Traders Association, said: "OSBL [Orion Shepherds Bush Limited] did an initial presentation to traders last week and there were a couple of concerns that have left us worried. Orion spoke about creating a third entrance to the market from Goldhawk Road and we found this particularly upsetting as we have made it clear to them in the past that we think this would divert people away from businesses that are currently in the market.

"Orion also failed to give us any real information about exactly what kind of regeneration they have planned for the market. The current infrastructure of the market does need improving and they were very vague about this.

We have hoped that regenerating the market would lead to new parking and loading bays within the complex itself but Orion did not appear to be in favour of that

But Council Leader Stephen Greenhalgh is having none of it. He says:

"The council wants to see a market that is flourishing, with more people visiting and market traders enjoying a more secure and prosperous future. Our proposals are all about increasing footfall to the market and making the traders and the businesses in the surrounding area more profitable. We also want to create new public spaces, build new homes and create a new cultural quarter, focussed around the Bush Theatre who have recently moved into the old library building.

"We do not want to change the identity or character of the market but there is no doubt that the market needs investment in infrastructure and facilities if it is to maximise its undoubted potential. We all look forward to securing the long-term future of the market and the surrounding area and are thrilled that traders are now coming on-board

Opposition Leader Stephen Cowan, however, has a rather different take on the Council's version of what three traders coming on board means:

"This is a ridiculous piece of propaganda. Contrast it with what happened four weeks ago when over two hundred traders and residents turned up to the Council Meeting to demonstrate against the Conservatives' plans for Shepherds Bush market. Indeed so many objectors turned out the Council had to put many of them into an overflow room and have the debates and votes despatched through to them via intercom.

That meeting was a disaster for the Conservative Administration as they were booed and jeered for being unconvincing in their arguments and vague in their assurances. The Shepherds Bush councillors tell me that these proposals were given a similarly difficult reception at a public meeting just yesterday. None of this was reported in a council press release or mentioned in H&F News - the Council's North Korean style propaganda paper.

But now, they've managed to find just three traders to express some positive noises and the Council writes it up as a major story. I'm genuinely not sure whether this Administration is deluding themselves or whether they think we're all stupid enough to be deluded by them. Whatever the situation, I call on the Conservatives to stop wasting their efforts and our money putting this nonsense out.

Instead, they must properly engage with residents and traders, hear their concerns and provide a way forward where everyone's rights are legally protected and whatever plans they end up going with has the support of the people and businesses in Shepherds Bush - particularly those most affected."


  1. As a market trader, the market needs a revamp for sure, it has nowhere near the footflow it used to have. Profits have decreased for trader by at least 70% over last 5 years. Thursdays used to be half days in the market, this has changed to full a day which allows customers to spread their visits over 6 full days. Most traders sell garments for a specific type of customer: the arabs. Product range is shocking inside the market, and outside the market all that exists is cheap material. Transport for London have no interest in the market, and Orion seem to want to make their money with 300+ flats built in surrounding areas. The market superintendent is useless too as there are several bycycles speeding down the market, theives, and beggars. Orion Shepherds Bush LTD will vanish and the market will be sold onto another owner once they have made thier flats. Watch This space... .....

  2. I love Shepherd's Bush Market as it is! It has heaps of character and is a treasure trove where you can find almost anything! It is the souk of West London! I am a local resident and regularly go to pick up haberdashery, household items, fruit and veg, falafel sandwiches, bits of costumes and everyday useful items. There are also excellent butchers and fish mongers. I don't think I am alone in saying that I would be heartbroken if Shepherd's Bush Market was turned into one of those commercial, overpriced she-she markets that are so rife nowadays! Obviously if it is struggling trade wise (although it always looks bustling to me), then this needs to be addressed but very carefully and sensitively ensuring that traders are happy and that the character and spirit of this lovely place is maintained.