BORIS Johnson said he would do 'whatever I can to protect' Goldhawk Road traders after he came under fire for refusing to answer their questions at a public meeting on Wednesday night.
The Mayor was roundly heckled at a People's Question Time in Hammersmith after he was confronted about the council's plans to rebuild Shepherd's Bush Market and knock down a row of shops in Goldhawk Road.
Traders, who are taking their case to a judicial review, said Mr Johnson skirted around their questions, while Audrey Boughton of the threatened Cooke's Pie and Mash Shop accused the Mayor of being unaware of their plight.
But Mr Johnson, who was at Westfield on Thursday morning to launch the western extension of the cycle hire scheme, insisted the planning application was on his radar and defended his performance by saying it was hard for him to speak about live development cases.
He stopped short of saying he would step in and block the scheme, as he did earlier this year with the Hammersmith Town Hall regeneration, but told the Chronicle: "I will do whatever I can to protect the traders at Shepherd's Bush Market. I was delighted we were able to protect King Street because I thought the scheme was not appropriate." He refused to comment when asked whether he thought the Shepherd's Bush Market scheme, backed by the council, was inappropriate.
Mrs Boughton said she wasn't convinced the Mayor was on traders' side. "He answered almost every other question in full apart from about the market redevelopment. He just didn't seem to have been briefed about it, saying there were hardly any objections, but he was so wrong - there were 114.
"He said he didn't 'want to bind his hands' by talking about it - but this is a huge issue. I think he has lost votes in the borough. A lot of people were irate."
Mr Johnson admitted he'd had a rough ride at the public meeting, at which he was also confronted by protesters against the Thames Tunnel, Crossrail and the Occupy London Movement
He said: "There was a bit of argy bargy but in general I thought it was a good meeting and a good opportunity for people to raise issues. There was a measure of agreement as to the way forward for London."
Mr Johnson gave his support for super sewer opponents, saying the 20-mile long tunnel could 'unnecessarily whack up water bills' and that he 'would not tolerate' disruption in Carnwath Road, Fulham, one of three locations earmarked to house a main building site.
The Mayor was talking alongside one of four new docking stations, later to become five, launched at Westfield. Next summer the scheme will be extended throughout Hammersmith and Fulham at a potential cost of up to £2m to borough taxpayers and Mr Johnson dodged questions about why the scheme was announced as being entirely funded by sponsors Barclays.
He said: "The only other way of doing it was at taxpayers' expense - so you either don't do it or you do it with as much private sponsorship as you can find. The bank has helped keep costs as low as possible."
Mr Johnson added councils are happy to make 'small contributions' to the scheme.
Six-hundred new docking points have been built in a new western 'spur' to connect Westfield with central London. An extension was also launched in Tower Hamlets, bringing the total number points to 2,700. 2,300 new bikes, with a redesigned saddle and bell, have also been added.
The bikes have 'changed London', added Mr Johnson, who confirmed the new docking points at Westfield have been funded by the shopping centre.