A legal challenge that threatened to derail plans to revitalise Shepherds Bush Market has been dismissed on all grounds. The market has been in existence for 100 years but many traders and residents feel that it has been in decline for some time. Hammersmith & Fulham Council (H&F) and developer Orion Shepherds Bush Ltd (OSBL) believe that the regeneration plans will inject more than £3million a year into the local economy.
On 9th October 2013, Mr Justice Keith Lindblom, sitting in the High Court dismissed the claim on all of the three remaining grounds.
OSBL was granted outline planning permission to regenerate the market in March 2012 in a scheme that will see the market widened to provide more space for larger pitches.
There will also be an increased number of market stalls to create an even more diverse mix, new seating areas and toilets, improved lighting and security.
At the Uxbridge Road end of the market, a new public square will provide the setting for the refurbished Bush Theatre which has moved into the Old Shepherds Bush Library building. The railway archways will also be refurbished and 212 new homes built.
Welcoming the judge’s decision, Hammersmith & Fulham Council Leader, Cllr Nicholas Botterill said:
“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 stay in this location and I hope they will now look carefully at the benefits of participating in this scheme.”
Richard Olsen, Chairman of Orion, said:
“Our plans are the product of years of detailed consultation and discussion and we value the strong support that we have had from so many of the traders and other local shopkeepers. Revitalisation of the market is long overdue and as the benefits become apparent I hope that the small number of opponents will agree to work with us to play their part in its future success.“
Some of the businesses on Goldhawk Road oppose the regeneration plans which would see their premises rebuilt.
Mr Justice Keith Lindblom did not agree that the Council had made a mistake in its handling of the Shepherds Bush Market Supplementary Planning Document in the decision for the planning permission. He did not agree that the Council had unlawfully failed to take into account the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework. He also did not agree that there were any shortcomings in the environmental impact assessment undertaken for the Shepherds Bush Market proposals and that the Council was in breach of the EIA regulations in granting planning permission.
In the meantime, market traders are desperate for the much-awaited regeneration to begin in earnest.
OSBL has given written assurances across a range of key areas of concern for the market traders. They have said that there will be a phased programme of work so that the market will remain open at all times. They have also offered rent protection measures for market traders over the works period and a business continuity fund of £500,000 for market traders to promote trade, support businesses and compensate for any losses during construction.
A specialist market management company, Wellington Markets has now been appointed and a market management strategy adopted to support existing traders and attract new ones.
Hamid Tipu runs a fruit and vegetable stall in the market and said:
“I am certainly in favour of the regeneration scheme and I am sure that it will bring about a much needed boost in business for us market traders. It has been a hugely frustrating period recently as we wait for the outcome of the judicial review as none of us have really known what is happening. I can’t wait for the scheme to happen and hope that significant progress can be made now.”
Aslam Malik of Moon Foods Cash and Carry, which is situated close to the Goldhawk Road entrance to the market, said:
“I am completely supportive of this scheme. As things stand this market has absolutely no future. It is in desperate need of regeneration and most of the traders that I know are fully behind the plans.”
Wahid Abohiga sells CDs and DVDs and runs the first market stall from the Goldhawk Road entrance. He has been working in the market since 1997. He said:
“I think that this regeneration scheme is absolutely vital for the market and the entire area. Most of the market traders want the scheme to progress as quickly as possible as long as we get a fair deal.”