Shepherds Bush Market: fighting for tenants’ rights in the face of private housing development
According to locals, the best falafel in London can be found by the north entrance!
The market was owned by Transport for London (TfL), a significant London landlord. During that time, traders allege that TfL had failed to invest sufficient funds in the infrastructure of the market, which decayed as a result. Tfl sold all the land to Orion, a private developer (except for the arches and the land 3 metres either side of the viaduct which Orion are now leasing from TfL on a long lease)
In February 2014, s all the land except for the arches and the land 3 metres either side of the viaduct which Orion are now leased from TfL on a long lease. has Orion managed the whole market and owns all
Orion has planning permission to build flats for private sale and rent and in addition, new premises for the market. The company, together with Development Securities Plc took over the ownership and management of the market in February 2014, managing the project under different new limited companies (for the purposes of simplification, we’ll call them all ‘Orion’ here) Orion’s development is partly financially backed by Primerica (a US real estate investment company that prides itself on good values for communities).
As well as redeveloping the market, the development will create 194 flats, 13 mews style houses and five ‘live/work’ units — none of which will be ‘affordable’ (even ‘affordable’ is only up to 80% of market rent). In order for development to go ahead, OBSL must be granted permission to compulsorily purchase some of the shops. This requires a Compulsory Development Order (CPO) which so far has not been granted (see below).
Traders have experienced many problems since the development project began. Despite the planning permission being granted, there is still very little detail about the ‘market offer’ by developers which they legally have to provide as part of the development. This makes traders anxious and angry. Proposed changes have been criticised by traders – for example the removal of canopies which protect businesses and shoppers from rain and wind. OBSL has also been offering less secure and favourable leases, which place greater cost and liability onto the shoulders of the tenants. A new Temporary Market Area made of shipping containers and temporary stalls, erected so that structural work can be carried out in the market, has no permit for trading and is judged unsatisfactory by many traders. So far no-one has moved into it. This dispute and uncertainty has had a real impact on the market – around 10% of traders have left the market since February 2014, many fed up with uncertainty and lack of transparency.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council granted initial outline planning permission in 2012. A judicial review challenge was then made by the Goldhawk Businesses (neighbouring concerned businesses), which was overruled. Most significantly, a public inquiry was held into the CPO in 2013 and the government independent inspector, Ava Wood judged after several months of fact-finding and taxpayers’ money that the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) should not be granted because it did not provide adequate terms and conditions to ensure the security and diversity for the market tenants. Then in an unprecedented move for a small street-market related development, the (Conservative) Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the Rt Hon Eric Pickles, overruled the recommendation. The traders are now challenging this ruling and appealing against the CPO decision in the high court (see press release below) in hope of saving and protecting the unique long established independent businesses of Shepherd’s Bush Market.
The Shepherd’s Bush Market Tenants’ Association (SBMTA) is a non-profit association representing the vast majority of the Shepherd’s Bush Market businesses. They have been trying meticulously to work with the redevelopers, Orion to ensure that Orion’s scheme will enchance the market’s assets and benefit the livelihoods of the traders. However, according to SBMTA, the redeveloper’s failure to honour and respect agreements and heed the words of the businesses has forced businesses to take legal steps to “damage control” and protect their own businesses.
Local MP Andy Slaughter (Labour) is supportive of the traders’ criticisms, and has set up his own petition for the market . Traders have also launched a petition to the GLA calling on it to protect this unique retail and social space. You can find them on Facebook here.
Below is the full press release on the High Court challenge launched on 26th March 2015.
Government in High Court battle over Shepherd’s Bush Market development
Market traders began legal action in the High Court on Wednesday 26th March 2015 against the Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, to quash a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) issued by the Government for the development of a private block of luxury flats adjoining Shepherd’s Bush Market.
Traders in the much-loved 100-year-old market are taking Mr Pickles to the High Court after he overturned the decision to enable the property developer Orion to build on the site which involves substantial disruption and alteration to the market.
In 2014 a Public Inquiry recommended that the proposed development of Shepherds Bush Market did not offer sufficient guarantees and financial safeguards for the long-standing market traders. An independent Senior Inspector, Ava Wood, stated that the development would also affect the ethnic diversity, independence and small scale retailing environment that is central to the appeal of the area and recommended that the CPO should not be confirmed. Despite this finding Mr Pickles, as Communities Secretary, overturned his Inspector’s recommendation, without giving any reasons.
Law firm Leigh Day are now representing the traders at the High Court in what they describe as a battle for their livelihoods, protecting the businesses which have been worked by the same families in the market for generations.
Hammersmith and Fulham MP, Andy Slaughter, said: “most people in Shepherds Bush were astonished when the Government ignored the decision of the Public Inquiry to protect the Market and told the developer to go ahead and bulldoze the area, without giving any reason.
“I hope the Court will see that not only hundreds of local businesses but a part of West London history is under threat and save Shepherds Bush Market”.
James Horada, Chair of the Shepherd’s Bush Market Tenants’ Association, said:
“It is heartbreaking that we the tenants have spent years actively striving for help to assist the businesses of Shepherd’s Bush Market. Instead of receiving funding that could have directly benefited the businesses, this scheme has been manipulated to assist the building and sale of over 200 luxury apartments. The scheme now threatens to compromise the unique and eclectic market businesses. This scheme is removing our security and forcing additional costs and liability onto our businesses. In the past 12 months we have had over 10% of the market businesses fold and leave the market. It is madness that the view of the inspector, who spent months studying and examining the facts and judged that the Compulsory Purchase Order should not be issued was dismissed and overturned by the Secretary of State. This scheme should be about protecting and cradling the businesses of Shepherd’s Bush Market and preserving an exceptional community.”
Richard Stein, Partner from the Human Rights Department at Leigh Day solicitors said:
“Following the Public Inquiry into the scheme for Shepherd’s Bush Market, the Inspector came to the clear conclusion that the proposals would not protect the diversity represented by the current traders and shopkeepers and she recommended rejecting the CPO.
“Apparently without any reason at all the Secretary of State gave it the go ahead. We consider that this decision is unlawful and look forward to it being quashed by the High Court.”
“Not only is this decision unlawful, in our opinion, it is also unfair for both the market traders and the residents of Hammersmith & Fulham as well as shoppers from all over London and the world."