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APP/NPCU/CPO/H5390/71854 Andrew Slaughter, Non-statutory Objector

The London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham (Shepherds Bush Market Area) Compulsory Purchase Order Public Inquiry 2013

_______ PROOF OF EVIDENCE OF ANDREW SLAUGHTER MP ___ I, ANDREW SLAUGHTER, Member of Parliament of 143 Becklow Road, Shepherds Bush, London W12 9HH, will say as follows: 1. I am the MP for Hammersmith, a resident of Shepherds Bush for 15 years and of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham (LBHF) for 53 years. I am very familiar with the Shepherds Bush Market Area (SBMA), the present development scheme and proposed Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO). Prior to my election as MP for the area in 2005, I was a councillor in the borough for 20 years and between 1996 and 2005, Leader of the Council. I am barrister by profession, though not currently practising. Knowledge of SBMA 2. I have been visiting the SBMA for over 35 years. I used to work at the Shepherds Bush Library (now the Bush Theatre), have shopped in the Market and on Goldhawk and Uxbridge Road, was for 20 years a board member of Broadway, which runs the day centre and move on accommodation on the site, and have worked closely with Peabody, Notting Hill and Octavia Housing, the former owners of the laundry site. I have also got to know well many of the long-standing traders and shopkeepers and their representatives.

3.

The impression given by LBHF and the developer, Orion, that the SBMA is redundant, unsalvageable without complete redevelopment and not catering to the local population is the opposite of the truth. It is part of a, mainly publiclyfunded, propaganda campaign to achieve their joint goal of building some 212 luxury flats and mews houses on the site. The existing users, on the contrary, provide much-needed and valued public and private services.

4.

The Market is a unique combination of arches, stalls and shops that has developed its character over a century. The Goldhawk Road shops, as illustrated in the proofs of Audrey Broughton, Aniza Meghani and Turker Cakici, are an eclectic variety of small businesses which are thriving and irreplaceable. The social housing and hostel facilities, which are purpose-built and of modern construction, are in high demand in an area of very high housing costs, substantial deprivation and social problems.

5.

It is part of the current LBHF housing and planning strategy to demolish or replace facilities that provide for poorer residents of the borough with luxury accommodation. In this case none of the new properties will be affordable housing units against a target of 40% in both the London Plan and LBHF Core Strategy. Evidence in the borough and elsewhere suggests that these units will be bought for occasional use by foreign nationals travelling to the UK on business or for investment. In other words, useful and popular users of the SBMA will be replaced with a ghost-town development.

6.

The Market itself has been neglected by its current owner, Transport for London (TfL). For some years TfL has been content to collect rents without investing in the infrastructure, facilities, security or design of the Market. This is now being used as an excuse for demolition of the whole site, when the far simpler remedy is for the Mayor of London, of behalf of TfL, to work with the Market Tenants Association to provide a more attractive and functional Market, without destroying its history and character. If the current Mayor declines to do this it may well be that a future Mayor would.

7.

The opportunity cost of running down or leaving empty parts of SBMA is also a misuse of public funds in the interest of the proposed development. As set out in the proof on behalf of Notting Hill Housing, the Lime Grove Hostel, which does not form part of the SBMA, has now been held empty for more than two years, as a prospective decant for the Broadway hostel. CPO costs of the hostel, solely to assist the developer. This is opposed by local residents and is costing taxpayers significant sums. LBHF has underwritten the

8.

The laundry site in Pennard Road was formerly owned by Octavia Housing, whose application to build a modest development of mainly affordable homes was turned down by LBHF, who now favour Orions gross overdevelopment of the same site. Eventually commercial pressure forced Octavia to agree a land swap with LBHF who acquired the site, effectively on Orions behalf. consequence the site has stood empty for at least five years. In

Knowledge of the current scheme 9. Shortly after the current administration was elected in LBHF in 2006 it became clear that the SBMA was one of the parts of the borough they were targeting for their gentrification or social engineering strategy. A group was set up to meet in secret to discuss the future of the SBMA. On one occasion when I tried to attend this group, which met at the Charecroft residents hall on the north side of Shepherds Bush Green, the police were called. abandoned. 10. In 2007, Orion, in the persons of Mr Olsen and Mr Horn arrived in the area. I see from Mr Horns proof that they say they were responding to the open for business seminar held by LBHF. But there appears to be a close working and sometimes social relationship between Orion and senior members of the council. I have been concerned about this relationship between the council and Orion since I became aware of Orions interest in the Market area. 11. There has been no proper tendering process, competition or advertisement to find a developer interested in the site. Orion appears to have emerged from This approach was quickly

private dealings between councillors and officers and its management.

The

council has acted throughout as the de facto agent for Orion, assembling the site, persuading existing landowners to sell and adapting planning policy to suit Orions requirements. 12. Since 2007 I have attended very many meetings and other events designed to promote the development. LBHF is indistinguishable from Orion on these occasions, and the interests of my constituents, whether residents, traders or shopkeepers are nowhere to be seen. Promises, as set out in the Goldhawk Road shopkeepers proofs, have been made often for public relations purposes, but then broken. 13. The proposal is essentially for 212 high-value flats and houses fitted into a very small space. It is uniform, dense and wholly out of keeping with the area. The presentation of this as a Market-led scheme is window-dressing to disguise the actual development. I have no doubt that the disruption to trading alone will destroy the Market in its current form. 14. Whereas the fate of the Goldhawk Road shops is clear: they will be demolished and no satisfactory replacements built on the site, the future of the Market has been more debatable. LBHF claims it will retain a market on site. Very few people locally believe this will in any way resemble the current Market. Firstly, the disruption caused by the development will drive trade away, with no adequate compensation. Secondly, many of the traders have limited security of tenure and will be easy to displace. Thirdly, there is no long-term guarantee as to rent levels. 15. It is a generally held view, which I share, that any remaining market will be catering to a different clientele and will require different traders. A market there may be, but it will not be Shepherds Bush Market save in name.

Alternatives to the current scheme 16. The current scheme is devised by LBHF and Orion to achieve their joint aim: a development which maximises profit and removes all current users from the site.

The Supplementary Planning Document set out how this would be achieved. Sadly, for the council-developer this was declared unlawful by the High Court and led to unseemly back-peddling whereby LBHF sought to attach no weight to its own document, which it hoped would enable it to grant Orion planning consent in any event. 17. That consent is now also subject to judicial review, the judgment of which is awaited. The consent provides for some s106 monies, in part to enable the relocation of services off the site and in part to provide new facilities in the Market. There is no provision for affordable housing.

18.

The best result for the current users and local residents would be for the Orion scheme to be abandoned and LBHF to enter genuine negotiations with the current users to improve the SBMA. This is not a fanciful suggestion. There are very considerable s106 funds available or shortly to become available from the planning consents granted from major sites elsewhere in the White City Opportunity Area. There is a need to improve the Market. There is a need for affordable housing. There is no local demand for more investment properties.

19.

However, if some version of the current consent is to be pursued, and if it is to retain a market in some form, no case at all has been made for demolishing the Goldhawk Road shops. These are a separate, outwards-facing, historic element of the Goldhawk Road frontage. In this respect they have more in common with the preserved Bush Theatre site at the Uxbridge Road end of the SBMA.

20.

The shops represent everything that is good about Shepherds Bush: diversity, enterprise, imagination, success, independence. The idea that they will become part of a nine-storey monolithic block of empty flats is anathema. If there is to be any version of the current consent, and if it is to be assisted by the CPO, there is no reason why the livelihoods, families and businesses of the Goldhawk Road should be sacrificed.

The CPO 21. It is clear that the widespread opposition and scepticism that has greeted the council-developer proposals has set back this scheme by several years. Any goodwill or willingness to give them the benefit of the doubt has evaporated and this is largely their own faults as the PR-driven and misleading claims, by the previous leader of the council in particular, have made even tentative supporters now nervous of the true intentions of the scheme. 22. This has caused problems to the council, which faces difficult elections in May 2014, and the developer. But rather than moderate the proposals, as has been the case on other controversial sites were local opposition has been strong (for example, the Hammersmith Town Hall or 282 Goldhawk Road sites), here LBHF has redoubled its efforts on the developers behalf. 23. Since I was first elected as a councillor in 1986, I have not experienced CPO powers being exercised in this way. On the contrary, there has been a decline in their use, which is largely now confined to unlocking small parcels of land necessary to permit a project to proceed (eg ransom strips). The idea that a local authority having procured a site for a developer should then use draconian powers to force land sales, including those offsite to relocate facilities, is unique in my experience. 24. The greater emphasis on human rights, learning the lessons of forced development in the previous generation and the role of councils as community leaders all argue against the use of CPO save in extremis and certainly not for these purposes.

Conclusion 25. I have seen no evidence of the need for the proposed development. I have seen no evidence that Orion requires the footprint of the CPO area to permit any development to proceed. On the contrary, Orion and LBHF have hidden behind claimed commercial confidentiality to suppress the viability study. On the other hand, I have seen disruption, uncertainty, waste of public resources, appalling

treatment of residents and businesses alike and a wilful disregard of public opinion over a period of six years thus far. 26. The proposed SBMA development is not a regeneration project or an improvement to the economic or social fabric of the area, it is a get-rich-quick and social experimentation scheme gone wrong. To try and force it through by using CPO is an egregious misuse of power by the state.

STATEMENT OF TRUTH I believe that the facts stated in this proof of evidence are true.

ANDREW SLAUGHTER MP DATE: 16 September 2013