A unique London market is under threat from developers

Market traders have announced that they are to appeal a High Court decision upholding a controversial Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) imposed on the area by the Government.

The market traders’ legal challenge was heard in the High Court on 28 July 2015 against the former Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, in an effort to quash the CPO issued by the Government for the redevelopment which includes a private block of luxury flats adjoining Shepherd’s Bush Market.

The Judge Mr Justice Dove in his ruling, which he read out two days later on 31st July 2015, upheld the CPO and declined to decide an application by the market traders for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Law firm Leigh Day, acting for the market traders, is taking the legal challenge direct to the Court of Appeal to continue the fight against the decision.

Traders in the much-loved 100-year-old market took legal action after Mr Pickles overturned the recommendation of an independent senior inspector to refuse to confirm the CPO following a Public Inquiry in 2014 because the proposed development of Shepherd’s Bush Market did not offer sufficient guarantees and financial safeguards for the long-standing market traders.

The Inspector, Ava Wood, also stated that the development would threaten the ethnic diversity, independence and small scale retailing environment that is central to the appeal of the area.

Despite this finding, Mr Pickles, as Communities Secretary, overturned his Inspector’s recommendation, without giving any reasons. This decision would enable the property developer Orion to build on the site, which involves substantial disruption and alteration to the market.

The traders describe the legal action as a battle for their livelihoods, protecting the businesses which have been worked by the same families in the market for generations.

Hammersmith and Fulham MP, Andy Slaughter, said: “Most people in Shepherd’s Bush were astonished when the Government ignored the decision of the Public Inquiry to protect the market and told the developer to go ahead and bulldoze the area, without giving any reason. The High Court decision is disappointing and I am pleased to hear that the market traders are appealing to save the market which is an essential part of the community in Shepherd’s Bush.”

James Horada, Chair of the Shepherd’s Bush Market Tenants’ Association, said:

“It is heart-breaking that we the tenants have spent years actively striving for help to assist the businesses of Shepherd’s Bush Market.  Instead of receiving funding that could have directly benefited the Market, this scheme has been manipulated to assist the building and sale of over 200 luxury apartments. The scheme now threatens to compromise the unique and eclectic market businesses.

“This scheme is removing our security and forcing additional costs and liability onto our businesses.  In recent months we have had over 10% of the market businesses fold and leave the Market. It is madness that the view of the government appointed inspector, who spent months studying and examining the facts and judged that the Compulsory Purchase Order should not be issued was dismissed and overturned by the Secretary of State.  This scheme should be about protecting and cradling the businesses of Shepherd’s Bush Market and preserving an exceptional community.

“We were extremely disappointed at the High Court decision and have been advised by our lawyers that we have good grounds for an appeal.”

Richard Stein, partner from the Human Rights Department at Leigh Day solicitors said:

“Following the Public Inquiry into the scheme for Shepherd’s Bush Market, the Inspector came to the clear conclusion that the proposals would not protect the diversity represented by the current traders and shopkeepers and she recommended rejecting the CPO.  Apparently without any reason at all the Secretary of State disagreed and gave it the go ahead.  We consider that this decision is unlawful and we therefore do not agree with the High Court judgment which upheld this CPO.

“Not only is this decision unlawful, in our opinion, it is also unfair for both the market traders and the residents of Hammersmith & Fulham as well as shoppers from all over London and around the world.

“The application for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal will be issued today.”