Editor's pick: Market acquisition judged necessary for renewal

The secretary of state has confirmed the compulsory acquisition of land in west London to ensure regeneration of a long established market, overruling an inspector's recommendation that the application should be rejected.

The council and the developer stated that the regeneration of Shepherds Bush Market accorded with adopted policies seeking to create a vibrant mix of small shops, market stalls, leisure uses, residential and possibly offices. Their scheme included a number of existing shops and businesses to ensure that it was satisfactorily integrated with the town centre.

The council stated that the market had seen steady decline in its physical condition, visitor numbers and trading performance since the early 1990s, affecting the area's social wellbeing. It explained that the regeneration plans would deliver 212 high-quality homes and improve the quality of the retail offer, including enhanced market stalls.

The inspector decided that the promoters' guarantees and safeguards were not sufficiently robust to ensure genuine opportunities for existing traders and shopkeepers to continue trading in the new development. In particular, she saw a risk that the area's ethnic diversity would be compromised by the loss of independent and small-scale retailing, undermining its essential character and appeal.

But the secretary of state held that sufficient safeguards were in place to ensure a vibrant mixed-use development. In his view, market traders and shopkeepers or new operators with similarly qualitative and diverse offerings would be protected through a series of planning conditions and legal agreements. The scheme was viable and no suitable alternative options existed to achieve the desired planning outcomes, he found. On that basis, he saw a compelling case in the public interest to confirm the order.

Inspector: Ava Wood; Inquiry

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