An update on Shepherd’s Bush Market

shepmarkFurther this post last month I have been given an update by Matt Butler, Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s Head of Policy & Spatial Planning.

He says:

“We have recently been approached by U+I who advise us that they are now taking over from Orion.

“U+I advise that they aim to resolve current matters with the market tenants before consulting and discussing any new proposals that may come forward.”

A note of the meeting with the Council and the Shepherds Bush Market Tenants Association says that Richard Upton of U+I..

“…advised that he would send a letter to all the market tenants introducing U+I and updating them on the current situation. He would also send a letter in both legal and layperson terms setting out how U+I intends to resolve all the outstanding issues with the tenants, as documented by the SBMTA, which will be followed by a meeting in September with the SBMTA. The aim being to resolve all issues before the end of September.  In the meantime U+I will review market issues including management , increasing appropriate diversity and footfall for the benefit of all.”

That’s fine so far as it goes.

But according to a report in the Evening Standard the number of customers has been falling rapidly. We need to crack on with an attractive, sympathetic regeneration scheme – which means a design brief specifying that traditional architecture must be used.

I would expect that new homes will be needed for a viable long term solution. It is important to get on with it – not go back to square one.

Uncertain future for Shepherd’s Bush Market

shep1aA legal judgment has left the future of Shepherd’s Bush Market looking very uncertain. Orion bought the market from Transport for London in 2014 and wanted to include an ugly block of flats in a redevelopment scheme.

There were valid objections that the proposed scheme (pictured) would have changed the traditional character of the market. There was also a legal challenge over the use of compulsory purchase. This has been upheld so it looks as though the developers will have to go back to the drawing board.

Inevitably with such schemes, flats are described as “luxury” or “affordable” – often the “luxury” flats are not all that luxurious and the “affordable” ones aren’t all that affordable.

I have spoken to traders who support and oppose the scheme. It is needlessly unattractive. On the other hand we clearly need to increase the housing supply and to regenerate Shepherd’s Bush Market which has been in a state of slow decay for decades.

We are told that the Council will “work with the Orion Shepherd’s Bush Ltd (the Market freeholder owner), the market traders and other interested parties to deliver the 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.”

That sounds fine and dandy but how much longer can the Market survive? How many of those who “love” the Market do so enough to turn up and buy stuff from it?

Richard Olsen of Orion says that the number of shoppers has halved since 2009 and in the 11 months to last May, the number of visitors fell by almost a quarter, from 434,279 to 324,649. He adds:

“We don’t want to gentrify, we want to build around the existing traders, most of whom are very good. But we do want to spend more money on publicising and marketing it — a lot of people don’t even know it’s there.

“Without change the future is very difficult. I do understand where the traders are coming from, it is not just us and them — we should be working collaboratively. If it does fall over and it doesn’t work out then I’m not sure who wins.”

He’s got a point, hasn’t he? Even if you don’t like his choice of architect.

I’m all for a sympathetic regeneration scheme which includes new homes and uses traditional architecture and that allows the Market to thrive commercially for the long term. But we need to get on with it.