Calls for Council Resignations Follow Traders' Court Victory

But Council says market regeneration plans are "still full steam ahead"

There are calls from for resignations from Hammersmith and Fulham Council and for a rethink of its planning policies after campaigners fighting the redevelopment of Shepherd's Bush Market, which includes the demolition of historic shops on Goldhawk Road, won a major victory in the High Court.

The Council had planned to demolish the row of shops as part of their larger scheme to redevelop the Shepherd's Bush Market area but 13 local businesses launched a legal challenge.

Shepherd's Bush Traders outside the High Court

The scheme had envisaged moving the businesses into new premises in a redeveloped market but on Friday May 25, a judge decided that the Council's case was 'procedurally flawed' after a two day hearing.

In addition he noted the failure to conduct sustainability and environmental assessments.

The Council were refused permission to appeal and now face a legal bill of £75,000.

Following the judge's decision, local MP Andy Slaughter has slammed the Council saying: "Hammersmith & Fulham Council have been acting illegally in pushing through unpopular plans which allow developers to make profits by the destruction of local communities.

" They have wasted so far over £200,000 in lawyers’ fees alone – many times this in officer time and propaganda.  This is our money, which as usual they feel free to waste.  Now they are talking about appealing the decision and pressing on with the demolition in spite of the Court’s verdict.

" This week the Council elects a new Leader.  This should be a chance for it to pause and review some of the more controversial planning projects, including Shepherds Bush Market.  To spend more taxpayers' money trying to overturn this decision or to continue to support the developer would be obscene.

" All of the Council’s dodgy planning and housing policies will now be under legal scrutiny and if they do not fundamentally rethink their approach they will be back in court again and again."

Stephen Cowan, Leader of H & F's Labour Group of Councillors adds: " Mr. Justice Wilkie has handed down a damning indictment of H&F Council's behaviour. It has made the roles of the leading Conservatives and lead officials behind this scheme untenable."

Hammersmith and Fulham Council however, appears unmoved, saying: " Plans to revitalise Shepherds Bush Market and the surrounding area are full steam ahead.

" There were fears that the regeneration plans might be scuppered by a high court ruling on May 25 concerning the Shepherds Bush Market special planning document (SPD). However, as the planning application for the market was judged against the borough’s overarching ‘core strategy’ the planning permission – and therefore the regeneration plans – are still going ahead."

An H&F Council spokesman said: "The high court ruling on the SPD does not affect the Shepherds Bush Market regeneration plans or the legality of the recently issued planning consent. "

This situation appears to be in dispute however, with the trade publication Planning stating on its website: " The Council will be forced to reconsider the matter, potentially placing a stumbling block in the way of the redevelopment, for which outline planning permssion has since been granted to developer Orion Shepherd's Bush Ltd. The ruling could prove a setback if and when Orion seeks to secure full permission to proceed with its plans."

Stephen Cowan meanwhile calls the council's position "astonishing" and adds: " The administration's position is sadly consistent with their long-standing approach of ignoring the views of all that are against this scheme hat is an astonishing position to take.

" The finances alone are hard to justify when you consider that H&F Council have spent £600,000 on legal fees, propaganda and officers' time - a sum equivalent to a 1% council tax cut for every Borough household.

"Those responsible for all this in the Administration must listen to the traders, to Shepherds Bush residents and to the judge or they should resign. "


May 29, 2012