GOLDHAWK Road traders believe they are winning the battle to stop their shops being bulldozed after scoring a High Court victory over Hammersmith and Fulham Council.
Thirteen businesses, including Cooke’s Pie and Mash and Classic Textiles, took on the authority over its plans to demolish their premises and move them into rented units in a redeveloped Shepherd’s Bush market.
While the project has not been thrown out, lawyers for the traders said the development cannot go ahead in its current form after a judge ruled a council consultation had been flawed.
Mr Justice Wilkie said the authority’s strategic development plan for Shepherd’s Bush, including its ambitions for a redeveloped market, was ‘procedurally flawed’. The council was also ordered to pay £75,000 legal costs and had its right to appeal withdrawn.
The authority continued to insist after its defeat that the project, which involves the revamp of Shepherd’s Bush market and building 200 flats, can go ahead unaffected because planners gave them the green light using more recent ‘core strategy’ papers as a framework rather than the flawed strategic development plan.
But the traders’ lawyers said the council was in ‘damage limitation mode’ and predicted judges would throw out the project altogether if and when the shop owners challenge the overall planning consent.
Michael Webster, of solicitors Webster Dixon, said: “The council has been spinning lies about this project from day one. The fact of the matter is the core strategy makes reference to the SDP as being the council’s planning guideline, and a judge has now ruled that document defunct.We have asked them to withdraw this project.
“If they don’t we will take them to court again and I would suggest we’ve got a good chance of winning.”
Shop owners hailed the victory. Audrey Boughton, joint owner of Cooke’s Pie and Mash, said: “I’m euphoric. The council were so arrogant to think they could railroad such controversial plans through in the face of such opposition.”
Aniza Meghani, of Classic Textiles, said: “Many of our businesses have been established for decades and it has never been our wish to be part of the regeneration scheme. It is our intention to continue with our fight to retain our shops.”
A spokesman for the council said: “This judgement does not affect the regeneration plans or the legality of the recently issued planning consent. The vast majority of Shepherd’s Bush residents support these plans along with many of the market traders.
“The Goldhawk Road businesses have been offered a fantastic deal by the developer, including the chance of new larger shop units on the Goldhawk Road.”