Saturday, 24 December 2016

Shepherd's Bush in 2016 - The Year in Review

Walkabout - how it might look
2016 was a busy year in Shepherd's Bush. Below is a quick reminder of what's being going on this past twelve months.

In January, Dorsett Hospitality International, the group who renovated the old Shepherd's Bush Pavilion and turned it into a successful upscale hotel, opened their doors for the first of a number public consultation on their revised proposals for the old Walkabout pub, formerly the Shepherd's Bush Cinematograph theatre.

The proposed plans are still waiting for final planning permission from our Council, "pending consideration".

February saw average house prices over the previous year soar by a huge 28.7% to above £750,000. But ex-chancellor George Osbourne's large increases in Stamp Duty have led to big declines in turnover, as people think twice about moving house.  Instead, everyone seems to be building, converting lofts or digging basements - anything to avoid paying Stamp Duty.

Shepherd's Bush Market - saved from development
In March, The Court of Appeal overturned the decision of former Minister of Housing Eric Pickles to uphold a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) on a row of shops on Goldhawk Rd, adjoining Shepherd's Bush Market, effectively blocking the redevelopment of Shepherd's Bush Market.

Benighted Woody Grill on the Uxbridge road was fined £30k for multiple hygiene violations.

In April, a group of Islamist terrorists were jailed for trying to blow up Shepherd's Bush Police Station. You might think that Shepherd's Bush would not be an obvious terrorist target, but to these men it was.

In May, hipster paradise Pergola on the Roof opened (and is still open, and with further plans to open next year).  Play Football opened its doors in Hammersmith Park, after a long controversy over planning permission.

Westfield expansion is due to open in 20
In June, the Bush Theatre closed its doors for a big refurbishment and multi-million pound renovation.

In July, our Council hosted a "unity day" to protest Brexit, after Hammersmith and Fulham voted strongly in favour of remaining in the European Union, unlike the rest of the UK.

The Shepherd's Bush Empire finally re-opened after extensive renovations to the ceiling.

In August, Shepherd's Bush market traders won their final victory over the developers, Orion, ending prospects of redevelopment of the Market.  Sadly, it seems unlikely that Cooke's Pie and Mash, which closed last year, will re-open.

As summer finally arrived, Shepherd's Bush Green became a sea of litter, and remained a mess all summer long.

A fire in Shepherd's Bush caused by a faulty domestic dryer burned out part of a block of Council flats, leading to questions in the House of Commons by MP Andy Slaughter.

Boundary Changes
In September, Shepherd's Bush Magistrates Court closed, amidst protests.

Importantly, the Boundary Commission proposed changes to the existing constituency of Hammersmith that would chop Shepherd's Bush off of Fulham and add it to the new parliamentary constituency of Ealing Central and Shepherd's Bush.

In October the new runway at Heathrow got the official greenlight, despite much local opposition.

In November, White City developer Stanhope announced its intention to build three new massive office buildings at White City Place.  The pace of building is accelerating and White City will not be recognisable in years to come.

The Bush Theatre announced an overtly political agenda - to "fight the right wing" when it re-opens in 2017.

Electrical sub-station being demolished
In December, the Shepherd's Bush Post Office said it had to leave its premises on Shepherd's Bush Green, owing to the redevelopment of the building as a new Hoxton Hotel.

Repairs to Hammersmith Bridge were delayed by our cash-strapped Council, and the old electrical sub-station on Shepherd's Bush Green was finally demolished.

For the third year running, our Council couldn't find a couple of grand to put up Christmas decorations around Shepherd's Bush Green.

In 2017, watch out for the opening of Westfield's new John Lewis, and the completion of Phase One of the TV Centre development on Wood Lane. A new public park is supposed to link up Westfield with the new John Lewis, bringing new shops and restaurants to the railway arches underneath the Hammersmith and City line.

The Bush theatre will re-open, with a new slate of anti-right-wing plays.

But don't hold your breath for any news on fixing up poor old Shepherd's Bush Market. Despite the millions of pounds spent on the proposed redevelopment and the (presumably) huge cost of the litigation, the result ended in failure for the developers, Orion. And, since our council doesn't have much time for property developers anyway, any new plans to redevelop the site will surely be years away. Love it or hate it, Shepherd's Bush Market won't be changing any time soon.

The Shepherd's Bush Blog offers a personal view on life in Shepherd's Bush.  If you would like to contribute a story about our neighbourhood, email us at

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