Victory in Court for Shepherd's Bush Market Tenants' Association

High Court judges back their appeal against compulsory purchase orders

Computer generated image of redeveloped market

Traders at Shepherd's Bush Market are celebrating a major victory today, Friday Match 18 after High Court judges backed their fight against compulsory purchase and redevelopment of the market.

Shepherd's Bush Market Tenants' Association, or SBMTA have fought a long battle to save the 100 year-old market from being redeveloped, with over 200 luxury flats on the doorstep.

Developer Orion Land & Leisure, who bought the site from Transport for London in 2014 has applied for compulsory purchase orders to make way for the flats.

Former Communities Secretary Eric Pickles granted the orders, but the Shepherd's Bush Market Tenants Association took the case to the Court of Appeal, claiming the minister had ignored the concerns of a government inspector.

The Evening Standard reports that judges at the High Court today upheld the traders' appeal after agreeing that Mr Pickles had failed to give proper reasons for his decision. 

Lord Justice Lewison, sitting with Lord Thomas, The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales and Lord Justice Longmore, said: "Although it is clear that the Secretary of State disagreed with the inspector's view that the guarantees and safeguards were inadequate, he does not explain why he came to that conclusion."

He said Mr Pickles had made "bald assertions" in his decision to grant the CPOs, and should "explain why he disagreed with the inspector, beyond merely stating his conclusion that he did.

"The Secretary of State may have had perfectly good reasons for concluding that the guarantees and safeguards were accurate. The problem is we don't know what they were."

Richard Stein, who represented the traders in court, said: "I am sure they will be delighted that secretary of state will now have to justify why concerns raised by the inspector were not adequately dealt with.

"Whatever the outcome, they will hope the decision will protect this extremely valuable resource locally and for the whole of London."

The decision on the CPOs may now be sent back to the secretary of state, or the whole process could have to start again.

James Horada, the chairman of SBMTA, had described the court battle as a fight for the livelihoods of market traders.

They fear major disruption to the market's operation, and claim the redevelopment would harm the ethnic diversity of Shepherd's Bush.

At a hearing held on Thursday March 3, they said Orion has not guaranteed a rent cap for the traders, leading to fears that many of the independent stall holders would quickly go out of business.

It is also said the arches around which the market is based are falling into disrepair and no guarantees have been made that they will be improve as part of the redevelopment.

" Tenants in arches will end up with retail space not fit for retail, or they will have to pay to patch up the problems themselves," said Mr Horada. "In the end tenants will leave and the redeveloper will get their hands on it and cash in on it."

A petition in support of their cause was signed by more than 10,000 local people.

The trader's fight has also been backed by Hammersmith and Fulham MP Andy Slaughter, who responded to today's announcement by tweeting: "Sensational result for Shepherd's Bush Market traders as Court of Appeal rules Govt acted unlawfully in letting developer send in bulldozers."

A spokesman for Orion however said they were "extremely disappointed" with the decision.

"We believe that our ability to deliver the much needed investment and regeneration of Shepherd's Bush Market will now be seriously affected, " he said.

"The decision creates further uncertainty for the existing market traders and consequently the future of the market, which has long been in decline."

He added: "We remain committed to providing a vibrant and successful market that will return it to its rightful place at the heart of the local community.

"However, without the wider investment and redevelopment needed to realise our common vision for the market, another one of London's historic landmarks may be lost."

If you would like to add your signature and message to the petition, you can do so here.

March 18, 2016