Market traders in Shepherds Bush have won a High Court appeal that blocks the progress of a major redevelopment of the market site by Orion Land.
The judgement says compulsory purchase orders issued by former communities secretary Eric Pickles were delivered with a lack of sound reasoning for them. In overturning the orders, the appeal court judges said Pickles had used “bald assertions” and failed to explain why he held different views about some aspects of the project, compared with those expressed by a government inspector.
Lord Justice Lewison, one of three senior judges who deliberated, 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.”
“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.”
The project will now either need fresh, well argued CPOs, or – as the traders are hoping – will need to be rethought more fundamentally.
Frustrated developer Orion commented: “We believe that our ability to deliver the much needed investment and regeneration of Shepherd’s Bush Market will now be seriously affected. The decision creates further uncertainty for the existing market traders and consequently the future of the market, which has long been in decline.”
Orion bought the site from Transport for London in 2014. The redevelopment had secured outline consent from Hammersmith & Fulham planners back in 2012, and included proposals for more than 200 new flats, as well as a repositioning of the market with event space. The developer prepared temporary market space for traders in 2014, with pop-up areas on a nearby site in Pennard Road, which would allow for the redevelopment. Legal wrangling continued, with a decision in July 2015 that the market traders had not presented adequate grounds for the CPOs to be quashed.
“The redeveloper’s scheme is removing the tenants’ security and forcing additional costs and liability onto the market businesses,” claimed James Horada, chairman of the traders’ association.”It is wrong that the Shepherd’s Bush Market businesses should be compromised.”
LPA Perspective: Somewhere along the way, this redevelopment completely lost the trust of the market traders and other locals. And once that was lost, it was going to be hard going. But few developers could have imagined they would be up against such a strong opponent, with a sharp legal team that has picked away at the CPO process and eventually found a weakness in the process.
The market traders may paint this as a victory, but the problem is that everyone actually loses. Orion, who bought the site as a redevelopment project with a permission, have no incentive to maintain the market in the short term. They also probably have little wish to design a fresh project, with a financially inferior outcome. Expect further demise, until the market traders are further weakened and give in.