Wednesday, 1 July 2015

The Battle For Shepherd's Bush Market - Who Will Win?

Shepherd's Bush Market in 2013. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The latest round in the battle for Shepherd's Bush Market returns to the High Court on 28 July.  Market stallholders and Orion, the developer, have been locked in a five-year dispute over the Market's future. Will Orion get their way? Or will the traders successfully block the development? The hearing on July 28 will focus on the decision made by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles last year to uphold a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) over a row of shops on the Goldhawk Road.  Leigh Day, Solicitors for the stallholders, argue that Pickles' decision was unlawful, and seek to have it overturned. So, what is the basis for this latest challenge, and who is likely to win?

Shepherd's Bush Market in early 2015

The fight for the Market has a long history, going back to 2010. According to James Horada, chairman of the Shepherd's Bush Market Traders' Association (SBMTA),  market traders initially welcomed the proposed new development, hoping it would lead to a long-overdue upgrade of the market facilities.
Shepherd's Bush Market - due a facelift?
However, relations with their new landlord, Orion, who bought the land from TFL, soon deteriorated to the point where the traders felt they had choice but to take legal action.  The market traders argue that the new development offers the current traders little or no protection for their businesses. In short, they fear that Orion's plan is to redevelop the market, build around 200 luxury flats, and then get rid of most of the current businesses, replacing them with more upscale merchants.

Eric Pickles. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
In 2014 a full-blown Public Inquiry was held by a senior inspector, Ava Wood, at the Communities Office. After many months of deliberation, Ms Wood found that the proposed plans held "no security for the market tenants", and also found that the development would affect the "ethnic diversity, independence and small scale retailing environment that is central to the appeal of the area".

She recommended that the Compulsory Purchase Order should not be confirmed and that the development should not go ahead.

This decision by Ava Wood was soon overturned by Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, who upheld the CPO.  In effect, Mr Pickles over-ruled the considered advice of his own department - a very unusual move -  allowing the development to proceed.  For a while, at least.

When this story was first reported in October 2014, Mr Pickles's reasons were reported as follows: "The secretary of state considers that the proposed purpose of the order, including the redevelopment and regeneration of the area, will significantly contribute to the achievement of the promotion or improvement of the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the area."  

Shepherd's Bush Market in early 2015

However, the market traders did not agree. They sought legal advice, got a fighting fund together, and are now taking Mr Pickles and his decision to the Court of Appeal to try to overturn the CPO.

Richard Stein of 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.” 
Royal Courts of Justice. Image: Wikimedia Commons
The tragedy is that we have been here before, since  there has already been a good deal of litigation over this proposed development.  Permission for judicial review of the original planning permission was given back in 2011, and was reported in the original Shepherd's Bush blog in 2012, and also back in 2011.

In 2013 The High Court found against the Market traders, and upheld the planning permission.  But, at the same time, the public enquiry was held into the use of the CPO to purchase land on the Goldhawk Road - including the famous Pie and Mash shop. It is this CPO that is the subject of the present legal challenge.

Shops on the Goldhawk Road subject to the CPO. Cooke's Pie and Mash is to close on July 25

The outcome on July 28 is anybody's guess. It will be up to the Appeal Court judges as to whether or not the law was correctly applied in this case.  Planning law is complex, and, in this case at least, subject to many appeals and reviews.  Right now the lawyers appear to be the only winners in this long-running feud, which has been going on for more than five years.

At least someone is winning
In the meantime, traders are leaving the market, either because they fear for the future of their businesses, or because Orion will not renew their leases. According to James Horada, where there used to be around 140 leaseholders, there are now just 110.  And in the few cases where Orion does offer new leases, the terms offer very little security for the tenants.

Walk down the Market today and you will find an authentic London street market, a piece of Old Shepherd's Bush. Few however could surely deny that it desperately needs investment. The problem seems to be that, for this developer, the vision of the new Market does not appear include many of the current Market tenants.

In the meantime, while we await the outcome of the hearing on July 28, the Market traders are asking local residents to sign their petition. To add your voice, you can sign the petition here: You can also contact James Horada, Chairman of the Shepherds Bush Market Tenants Association at

The Bush Telegraph offers a personal view on life in Shepherd's Bush. Read about the Campaign to Save Hammersmith Park, find out about our new Farmer's Market, see what's on at The Bush Theatre, find out the latest news on the future of Shepherd's Bush Market, and the Council's plans to upgrade the Goldhawk Road and the Uxbridge Road. If you would like to contribute a story about our neighbourhood, email us at

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