Fury over Shepherd’s Bush Market sale

RESIDENTS and traders demanded to meet council leaders before they decide on the fate of their market next week.

Shepherds Bush Market stands to be sold off to private developers if Hammersmith and Fulham Council authorises the plan next Wednesday.

At a consultation drop-in session, at Shepherds Bush old library last Friday, emotions ran high when council representatives initially refused to hold a question and answer session.

Andrew Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith who attended the meeting in support of the traders and residents, said: “Peter wheeler from the market traders association stood on a chair and said we want a question and answer session because you say one thing to one person and something else to another and we want transparency.

“But they really want to see Stephen Greenhalgh, leader of the council, and Nick Johnson, the new head of regeneration, who haven’t met the residents or traders yet - before the 27th when the council is making decisions.”

The night before, Thursday, the H&F cabinet authorised the selling off of land to developers and compulsory purchase orders to be issued, where property owners are forced by law to sell-up, should a developer’s plans meet the council’s criteria.

The consultation process had still not finished leaving the Council open to accusations of rushing through the plans.

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But Mr Slaughter said: “You couldn’t get more insulting to the people. They invite them along to consult them, refuse to do it in a way the residents want and in any event had made the decision the night before.”

Shopkeepers and stallholders are concerned over a fall in trade during the development, which is expected to last four to five years, and unaffordable rents after.

Mr Slaughter warned that the plans were for a high value development and so high returns will be expected meaning no stalls or very high rents.

He said: “I asked the director of regeneration will rents go up and he said, well, we expect this to be a destination market, that’s an upmarket place like Covent Garden, and there fore there will be more people coming and more money to be made.”

A Council spokesman said: “We have held meetings in residents’ living rooms, in churches and only last weekend held 15 hours of drop-in sessions.

“The decision on October 27 is only the beginning of exciting proposals to save te market and make it more profitable for traders.

“The council and any developer will be continuing to work incredibly closely with all stakeholders moving forward and there will be plenty of opportunities to meet and discuss in the near future.”