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Fabric shop hotspot threatened by works

The future of London’s Goldhawk Road as a Mecca for fashion students and designers seeking high-quality cheap fabric has been thrown into doubt by local council plans to redevelop the surrounding Shepherd’s Bush Market.

It is understood that about six fabric shops, based between 30 and 50 Goldhawk Road, west London, have appointed Webster Dixon Solicitors to act on their behalf in talks with developer Orion Shepherd’s Bush (OSB). OSB is a joint venture between Orion and developer Development Securities and it is working with Hammersmith & Fulham Council on the regeneration plan.

An OSB project spokeswoman said the council believed the market, which has about 150 traders, including some fabric stalls, would be forced to shut down within five years if it was not redeveloped.

Closure of the Goldhawk Road shops, which are situated near to the market, would be a blow to fashion students and clothing makers, who depend on the area to find quality fabric at cheaper prices. It is understood to be significantly cheaper than central London fabric centres such as Berwick Street.

Under the regeneration plans, Shepherd’s Bush Market would be extended with improved space for existing traders, who will benefit from a three-year rent freeze, and the Goldhawk Road shops would be demolished and rebuilt. There would also be space for new stalls and retail units and new ‘themed’ areas would be created within the market, including an Artisans’ Quarter, which would be open to local artists and designers, and areas for fashion and fabric, fresh produce and cafés. It is unclear how many fabric shops would form part of the new development.

The spokeswoman added that the developer, which is consulting with interested stakeholders with a view to making a planning application in the early summer, is talking to shop owners about moving back to the same premises after the redevelopment and placing them in temporary locations while the work is done.

However, as Drapers went to press, Webster Dixon joint managing partner Michael Webster said that he had not received any correspondence relating to such negotiations.

He said: “[OSB’s] plans for the redevelopment of the market explicitly state that they are going to demolish the Goldhawk Road shops, which are of historical importance - not only in terms of the buildings themselves, but also because of the unique experience and skills that the shops owners have.

“Many of the shops have been in existence for decades, and it is a well-known area for being able to select a wide range of fabrics and garments.

“The shopkeepers have issued an application for judicial review opposing the regeneration plans, which we believe is likely to be heard in the next few months.

The shopkeepers do not believe that, as part of the proposed regeneration plans, it is necessary or desirable for the Goldhawk Road to be demolished.”

It is not clear whether the shop owners would be forced to sell as part of the redevelopment. However, it is feared that the council may issue Compulsory Purchase Orders if owners are reluctant to sell.

The OSB spokeswoman added: “It is the intention of OSB to make units available, but the tenure of these units is not yet established and will be the result of further consultation with the current occupiers.”

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