Friday, 18 February 2011
Over a thousand people will be moving in, or should I say on, to Shepherd’s Bush Market as it is redeveloped by Orion according to the displays currently on view at the old Shepherd’s Bush Library building on Uxbridge Road. The exhibition lasts until the end of the weekend.
As you can see from the pics the Market is set to change, and change radically. But the most surprising news for me is the apparent caving in of the owners of the Goldhawk Road Terrace of historic buildings who had seemed so dead-set against the idea of their buildings being demolished and rebuilt that they wrung a commitment out of Council Leader Stephen Greenhalgh at this meeting late last year to stop Orion in their tracks. I understand from Orion that most of the tenants have in fact now asked to be re-housed or bought out.
So it seems the fabled third entrance from Goldhawk Road (see above) is upon us, as is a vastly increased market space with some interesting and exciting new zones. For example there are to be wide seating and entertainment spaces including an outdoor square for the now resident neighbour Bush Theatre to use for performances. Hours look like being extended too with late night opening for food to cater for the post pub trade and many more trading sites that is currently the case.
The downside for me is the fact that in order to make their money Orion are going to stack no less than seven storeys of flats on top of the Market, alongside a row of “mews houses” backing onto Pennard Road which together will add well over a thousand new Bush residents who will live literally right on top of both each other and the Market itself, the majority of which will be underneath the housing.
And what of the traders concern that customers need parking? Well Orion claim that their research indicates that only 4% of current customers use cars. So no more parking for anyone.
Well from what I saw it fundamentally changes the character of Shepherd’s Bush with a huge building rising way above the current set up and relegating the Market to being a basement. Or you could say it’s bringing new people in, which isn’t a bad thing on its own, and much needed investment to a Market which let’s face it does come across as badly in need of more than a lick of paint.
What’s also clear to me, although no-one at Orion said this directly, is that they have cottoned on to the fact that keeping our Council with their reputation and penchant for bashing residents into submission at arm’s length has paid dividends in terms of turning vehement opposition into what looks now like active co-operation.
Or am I speaking too soon?
SATURDAY UPDATE: It seems I was. The traders of the historic terrace have been in touch to say they are adamantly not part of this plan and will fight it in the courts. Here's Aniza Meghani who runs one of the shops: "City Law Firm WEBSTER DIXON LLP are acting on behalf of the Goldhawk Road shopkeepers. We would like to inform you all, that we still DO NOT WISH TO BE DEMOLISHED.WE ARE VERY MUCH A UNITED ROW OF SHOPKEEPERS"
So it seems omce again in H&F planning folklore we're headed for the courts. The traders have applied to the courts to have the plans withdrawn. Watch this space.
Posted by Chris Underwood at 20:43