Back to the drawing board for Shepherds Bush Market plans

Out-Law News | 15 Sep 2016 | 1:04 pm | 1 min. read

A joint venture for the redevelopment of Shepherds Bush Market in west London has decided not to proceed with its controversial plans, four years after it initially received planning permission.

Orion Shepherds Bush Limited, a joint venture between developers U+I and Orion Land & Leisure, had received planning consent in 2012 for the redevelopment of the market site to provide 207 new homes, 65,000 square feet of new market space, 43,000 sq ft of cafés and restaurants and 43,000 sq ft of community space.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council made a compulsory purchase order (CPO) in 2013 to acquire all the property interests the joint venture required for the scheme. The then communities secretary Eric Pickles confirmed the CPO, against the recommendation of a planning inspector, in 2014 and the decision survived a High Court challenge the following July 2015.

However, the Court of Appeal ruled in March 2016 that Pickles had failed to explain the reasons for his decision. The appeal judges said a reader would have had to be "psychic to have extracted … the elaborate chain of reasoning on which [the communities secretary] relies" from the two sentences given in Pickles' decision letter.

The planning inspector had found that "guarantees and safeguards are not sufficiently robust to be assured that genuine opportunities exist for current traders or shopkeepers (or similarly diverse businesses) to continue trading in the market and Goldhawk Road." According to the Court of Appeal, Pickles "may have had perfectly good reasons for concluding that the guarantees and safeguards were adequate. The problem is we do not know what they were."

According to reports the joint venture has now decided not to continue to pursue its plans. A report from EGi last week said Orion Land & Leisure would relinquish its involvement in the development and the market would continue to be managed by U+I alone.

Planning expert Victoria Lindsay of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind, said: "This has been a long running and controversial saga and is an interesting case on the adequacy of Secretary of State's reasons in CPO decisions. U&I will want to bring forward some scheme in its place but that will require further work."