Hammersmith & FulhamNews

Police called to council meeting disrupted by protesters against redevelopment of 109-year-old market

By Ben Lynch, Local Democracy Reporter

A  council meeting set to vote on the redevelopment of a 109-year-old market had to be abandoned after proceedings were disrupted by chanting protesters.

Hammersmith and Fulham council’s Planning And Development Control Committee was last night set to decide whether to progress plans to add new stalls, homes and an eight-storey office building to Shepherd’s Bush Market, though this has now been pushed back due to the demonstration.

Police attended as members of the Protect Shepherd’s Bush Market campaign group continued to chant and wave a banner during the session. No arrests were made, with the meeting eventually cancelled and the public leaving of their own accord.

A mock-up of what a new entrance to Shepherd’s Bush Market may look like under Yoo Capital’s redevelopment plans (Picture: Yoo Capital)

Tensions had built earlier in the evening when a group of traders were denied entry due to the committee room reaching capacity.

Meron Gwiggner, owner of Hone Books Galore, said most of the traders travelled together, alongside representatives from the applicant Yoo Capital, and were unaware they were not guaranteed access to the meeting.

While she clarified she is in-favour of the plans, she said: “This meeting is very important. We had the right to be there. They could have chosen a much bigger space because where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Ather Doshi, who has been trading on the market for 32 years, said he and others had closed early to arrive at the meeting on time, though only some were able to get in.

“We were standing there and they [the council] kept taking people randomly,” he said. “There are about 10 to 12 of us still waiting.”

“It’s not good, because it matters to us,” Mr Doshi continued. “It’s totally linked to us. We are the ones going to be trading for another 10 to 12 years.”

Campaigners against the proposed redevelopment of the market protesting outside the council offices ahead of the meeting (Picture: Ben Lynch)

Prior to its adjournment, the committee had been presented background to the plans by officers, before Jake Simms, a member of the Protect Shepherd’s Bush Market campaign group, was invited to speak.

He accused the planning process of being “undemocratic from start to finish. There’s been a complete failure to consult both traders and the local community.”

Mr Simms added the proposals would be “the end” of the market as an “affordable and diverse market serving the community”, and claimed the council’s report on Yoo Capital’s application had contained a number of factual errors, such as the condition of some of the arches.

“It’s not subtle, we’re not stupid, we know a stitch-up when we see one,” he said.

Following Mr Simms’ speech, the protesters then began chanting “shame on you” and “hands off Bush Market”, while waving a banner on which was written “hands off our market”.

The meeting was eventually cancelled, with no new date given at the time of publication.

As well as the new stalls, office building and homes, the plans also involve a host of improvements to the public realm, such as new entrance signs at Goldhawk Road and Uxbridge Road, plus a financial package Yoo Capital says will support traders.

If approved, the application will still be required to go to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, before a decision notice can be issued.

A Hammersmith and Fulham council spokesman said: “We’re disappointed that the democratic process of last night’s Planning and Development Control Committee meeting was disrupted.

“We have listened and analysed all the consultation responses, and we have sought independent advice from numerous experts to evaluate the proposed scheme. Members of the public were also invited to speak at the meeting.

“We will shortly announce a new date, time and location for the meeting to resume.”

Pictured top: Members of the Protect Shepherd’s Bush Market campaign group chanted and waved a banner during the planning meeting (Picture: Protect Shepherd’s Bush Market)

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