Hammersmith & FulhamNews

Shepherd’s Bush market scheme must be stopped, traders tell Sadiq Khan

By Ben Lynch, Local Democracy Reporter

A petition urging Sadiq Khan to refuse plans to redevelop Shepherd’s Bush Market has been presented to the Mayor of London, having garnered more than 1,700 signatures.

Green London Assembly Member Siân Berry read the details of the petition to members last week, and later said the Mayor ‘must turn this application down’.

Real estate firm Yoo Capital’s plans to redevelop the 110-year-old west London market were approved by Hammersmith and Fulham council last December.

As well as a refurbishment of the site, the designs also include the construction of a nine-storey residential building, and a ‘life science incubator’ for Imperial College.

Yoo Capital has also pledged £5.5 million of financial support via packages including rent freezes for legacy traders at 2015 levels until at least 2031, and no rent or service charges during construction.

The proposals have, however, led to alarm from a number of traders and campaigners, with key concerns around future rent hikes and precarious contracts.

At the committee meeting in December, Jake Simms, a member of the Protect Shepherd’s Bush Market campaign group, said: “This planning application paves the way for the irreversible gentrification of Shepherd’s Bush Market, and the end of Shepherd’s Bush Market as an affordable and diverse market serving the local community.”

Meron Gwiggner, who opened Hone Books Galore in the market in October 2022, was evicted earlier this year having refused to sign a contract she believed was designed to force her from the site.

Yoo Capital refutes this, saying the offers made to Ms Gwiggner contained provisions ‘commonly used in commercial property transactions’, and are the same as those given to other traders in the market.

Following the eviction, Ms Gwiggner said she would ‘continue to fight for justice’, claiming there were others who were “terrified and have no voice to speak up”.

After handing in the petition last week, Ms Berry said: “Too many markets across London are being threatened and harmed by developers who don’t value and respect the life of the existing community.

“Traders lose their livelihoods and people lose an essential part of their local area. Shepherd’s Bush Market, which has been going for more than 100 years, is at risk of going this way. The Mayor must turn this application down.”

A spokesman for Protect Shepherd’s Bush Market said: “Shepherd’s Bush Market is the heart of west London. Yoo Capital’s plans would push out traders, price out locals and attack the market’s diversity for the sake of lining investors’ pockets.

“Traders and locals are clear that these plans must be stopped. Sadiq Khan must stand up to corporate greed, stand with communities across London and reject these redevelopment plans”.

Yoo Capital said the traders were “at the heart of everything we do” at the market, and that it acts with the needs of the local community in mind.

It added the firm’s plans were created following a ‘detailed consultation process’ with traders and the the Shepherd’s Bush Market Tenants’ Association (SBMTA), which has given backing to Yoo Capital.

“If plans are rejected and investment is not secured, the market will only continue to deteriorate,” an association spokesman said.

A company spokesman said: “We are committed to maintaining a broad variety of traders at the market and supporting these enterprises that market-goers know and love, and we remain dedicated to preserving the character of the market, investing in its long-term future.

“Our investment will also see affordable housing and a new commercial building with a life sciences incubator for Imperial College London on land adjacent to the market.

“The housing for the site will be 100 per cent affordable, with all 40 homes set to be managed by the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.”

A spokeswoman for the Mayor said they could not comment on an ongoing planning issue.

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

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