Old Laundry Yard development requires 20 stalls to be removed
Picture: Owen Sheppard
Shepherd’s Bush Market traders are pleading with the council not to demolish stalls to make way for a new block of flats.
They fear a proposal to build new homes on a patch of land beside the 105-year-old market, called the Old Laundry Yard, could mean clearing up to 20 stalls.
To build the scheme, Hammersmith and Fulham Council has partnered with U+I Ltd, the multinational company to whom it leases the market land.
Traders say it’s the latest twist in a “five year siege” with the company itself being partnered with a property firm, Orion Land & Leisure, which previously wanted to build 200 luxury flats on the site.
Attempts to redevelop the Laundry Yard, currently an all but vacant “shipping container park”, have been complicated by its unusual land-locked location. It is encircled by the market with 112 traders on one side, a row of houses on Pennard Road to the east, and shops on Goldhawk Road to its south.
This means that for construction vehicles to access the Laundry Yard, up to 20 stalls at the south end of the market could have to be cleared to build an access road, if the plans go ahead.
The council has said that traders who are forced to move will be offered another premises inside the market. And that it has to weigh this up against the opportunity to build more homes, including “affordable” homes.
But James Horada, chair of the Shepherd’s Bush Market Traders Association, said: “The concern now is that the council has partnered with U+I, and that could mean the council would go along with the plan to demolish them, so that they can create a vehicle access route into the Laundry Yard. It would mean sacrificing them.”
Picture: Owen Sheppard
The 47-year-old, who works at his late grandfather’s textiles and clothes shop in one of the arches, added: “We have been under siege for five years.
“These are long established family businesses, and this historic market is one of the only places in the whole area that serves local, working class people, people who can’t always afford the high street.
“But it feels like under every option we’re just trying to control the level of damage to the market.
“The constant disruption,” Mr Horada said, “has been bad for the traders. Footfall has been going down and there are now 112 traders compared to 145 a few years ago.”
On July 1, the Labour council’s cabinet members agreed to spend £1.3 million on entering into a “development management plan” with U+I, in preparation for submitting a planning application at a later stage.
An agenda report for the meeting said “approximately 62 new homes, with a minimum of 50% affordable housing” could be built, as well as 7,000 square feet of retail space.
Picture: Owen Sheppard
And it said land owned by U+I, including a rehab centre run by the charity St Mungo’s and shops along Goldhawk Road, which it recently acquired, could become 145,000 sq ft of retail or office space.
Rather than “sacrifice” the traders, Mr Horada called on the council to instead let builders access the Laundry Yard via Pennard Road, where there is a path between two houses.
“The Pennard Road residents would be upset if they used that entrance to the Laundry Yard. But I would urge them to,” said Mr Horada, who has worked at the market since he was a teenager.
“Why is it always assumed that the market is there to take the hit? This place is historic, it was given to local men after WWI to help restart their lives.
“And anyone who knows anything about running a business knows that having to relocate can have dire consequences. So they would demand compensation for having to move.”
The council did not respond to questions about putting the access route in Pennard Road.
A spokesperson said: “In looking at this proposal by U&I, we have to weigh-up the benefit of providing scores of new homes, at least half of them genuinely affordable, against the possibility that some of the stalls on Shepherds Bush Market may need to be moved a stone’s throw away.
“We are just starting to discuss ideas for the site, and are already having productive discussions with stallholders in the area.
“Shepherds Bush Market is a unique local resource and a valued and historical part of life in the borough. Any traders that are displaced as part of these improvements will be offered another plot within the market. No trader will be forced to leave the market.”
A spokesperson for U+I said: “We are currently working with the council…
“While these proposals are for the land next to the market, we are excited by their potential to benefit both traders and the Shepherd’s Bush Community, as well as complimenting the important heritage of the local area. Any plans we bring forward will be presented to traders and residents as part of a thorough consultation process.
“As owners of the market, we are committed to protecting its unique history and independent traders. We have already begun a multi-year programme of enhancement works, including renovating vacant units and improving public amenities, and we are committed to working in partnership with our traders to continue improving Shepherd’s Bush Market.”
Owen Shepherd - Local Democracy Reporter
August 5, 2019