|Shepherd's Bush Market|
According to Leigh Day, solicitors for the market traders, Orion have abandoned their efforts to appeal the latest ruling in the ongoing legal battle over the future of the market.
The compulsory purchase order made by the previous Conservative Hammersmith and Fulham Council and confirmed by Community Secretary Eric Pickles in 2014 has been quashed, effectively stopping the redevelopment of the market.
What has happened?
Last week (27 July 2016) the freehold owner of Shepherd’s Bush Market, Orion Shepherds Bush Ltd withdrew its application to appeal to the Supreme Court against the decision by the Court of Appeal to quash the controversial Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) imposed on the area in 2014 by the then Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.
What does this mean?
According to Leigh Day, this latest ruling means that the battle for Shepherd's Bush Market is now effectively over. In future, Hammersmith Council "will now work with the Orion Shepherd’s Bush Ltd (the Market freeholder owner), the market traders and other interested parties to deliver a sympathetic regeneration of the Market which will improve the facilities for the market traders and customers, while maintaining the Market’s unique identity which is so well loved by Londoners."
In other words, it's back to square one. The past six years of plans, consultations and litigation have led to this - the whole process beginning again.
Why can't Orion apply for a new Compulsory Purchase Order?
Because a private body, such as a developer, doesn't have the power. A CPO can only be granted by a public authority with compulsory purchase powers, such as a local authority or government department. In this case, since our Council is opposed to the development, they are extremely unlikely to do so.
Clearly, the Shepherd’s Bush Market traders are very pleased. James Horada, Chair of the Shepherd's Bush Market Tenants Association thanked the judges for their ruling, and said that "the traders are grateful that their fight to protect their rights has been successful."
Richard Stein of Leigh Day, and solicitor for the market traders said: “The fact the Court could only quash the CPO completely was extremely important because Hammersmith & Fulham Council had changed from a Conservative to a Labour led Council in 2014. The new Labour council was elected on a manifesto promising to oppose the Shepherd’s Bush Market CPO made by its predecessor. As a result, the council is now committed to promoting a market regeneration which safeguards the Market's character and the current stallholders. Had the decision been returned to Communities Secretary, Mr Javid, it is quite possible he would have confirmed the same CPO. Addressing the concerns of the Court of Appeal, the traders are confident that the council would not do so.”
What is Orion''s view on all this?
Clearly, Orion is not pleased. We tried to contact Orion's representatives to get their side of the story, but no-one was available to comment.
What will happen next?
Who knows? Since the original proposal led by Orion is now dead, it is not clear what will succeed it. The redevelopment of the market would have been paid for with new residential housing, but the quashing of the CPO now makes this unlikely. So, if new housing isn't an option, and since our Council have no money, there is no obvious answer to the question - who will pay for any redevelopment?
In fact, James Horada, Chair of the Shepherd's Bush Market Tenants Association, tacitly acknowledged this problem when he said “Over the past two and half years the Shepherd’s Bush Market traders have been placed under a great deal of duress. The Market has suffered under poor management, causing businesses to fold and footfall to drop."
The truth is that the market is in bad shape - as anyone who visits it can testify. It is surely no surprise that business is down. Andy Slaughter, our local MP, describes our market as "one of London best local markets". Of course, it's part of Andy's job to big up our neighbourhood. But is Shepherd's Bush Market really up there with Portobello Rd or Borough Market? Surely not.
The real question now is - will anything ever be done to improve Shepherd's Bush Market? It is hard to imagine any real progress being made, after so many years of delay, neglect and failure.
To read another, thoughtful local point of view, read councillor Harry Phibbs' post here. He even managed to get a statement out of Orion.
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