If there was one place in London, I could direct you to, to signify the cultural diversity in West London it would be Shepherds Bush Market located by the railway viaduct. It first opened in 1914 making it over 100 years old making it an integral part of the local area. I spent a lot of time here during my childhood, here amongst English, Asians, Arabs, Africans and Caribbeans, it was always very diverse and vibrant which holds a special place in my heart. It showed me there could be a place of diversity where everyone is accepted. There are over 100 stalls and many of these shops have been passed down families from generations to generations. A diverse range of goods famous for its haberdashery but also selling household goods to exotic fruits and the best falafel I’ve ever had, because everything you can purchase here is authentic.
This used to be the spot to buy good for the BBC until the Television Centre in white City closed, this coupled with the effect of Westfield shopping centre opening up just a short walk away, business has been greatly effects. The market has been facing an ongoing struggle with gentrification with property developers trying to obtain the land to build luxury flats.
The Shepherds Bush Market Tenants’ Association (SBMTA) was set up in the 1950’s and represents over 90% of the tenants, protecting their interests and ensuring the market is run appropriately. Unfortunately, the previous landlord of the market (TFL) sold their interest to propter developers who have since attempted many underhanded ways to force tenants out of business to sell and make way for residential housing. Developers (known as U+I Group Plc) have breached trader lease terms and agreements, overcharged struggling traders for service charges and opened a competing area of business very close by which directly financially affects business of the existing market. This has had a great toil of emotional and physical stress on the business holders and is nothing short of bullying.
Speaking to one of the local shop keepers who has been in the marker for over thirty years I was told, ‘We don’t get told a lot of information and it has been a very stressful to constantly fight to keep our businesses not knowing what will happen next. Quite a few of our friends, other stall holders have left the market, it’s not what it used to be’.
The business owners refuse to give in without a fight and have challenged the developers in the Court of Appeal. They have appointed solicitors to defend themselves and demand they be treated fairly and have the money have been overcharged paid back to them in full. They can do afford to do this alone as legal fees are very high, therefore this fundraising page has been set up to help cover the costs of ongoing legal battle.
Crowd Justice Page: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/savethemarket
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