Shepherd’s Bush and Hammersmith have one of the most active small business sectors in the country, much of it niche retail or media-related companies. This is why initiatives like last week’s Small Business Saturday are so important, at a time when this out of touch council is doing nothing for small business.
The most obvious example is Shepherd’s Bush Market, where the council is doing everything it can to help developer Orion demolish 20 small shops in Goldhawk Road and build 230 luxury flats nine stories high, unaffordable to average Londoners struggling during the cost of living crisis.
Not content with setting a planning policy to help Orion (which the High Court ruled unlawful), this council then set about assembling the land for them and now is acquiring the shops and stalls holding out by compulsory purchase.
The Market Traders’ Association is strongly opposed as of course are the shopkeepers, who include Cooke’s Pie & Mash, Mr Zippy’s authentic 60s diner and several famous textile shops. Last week the Public Inquiry, which has cost the shopkeepers a fortune, ended with the council unable to explain why they needed so much land for their scheme, which is more about social cleansing than regeneration.
The Government and the council now support employment sites being forced to change to residential, despite the fact that small businesses often employ local labour and none of the new flats are affordable. Just last week I heard from one small business in Shepherds Bush Road that will have to close as a developer has bought the freehold. Ten local people will lose their jobs, during the most vicious cost of living crisis that this country has seen in a generation. These are the people that the council should be standing up for.