Shepherds Bush Market

Meeting: 
MQT on 2008-11-12
Session date: 
November 12, 2008
Reference: 
2008/2507
Question By: 
Andrew Boff
Organisation: 
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

What action is being taken by TfL to provide affordable rather than 'open market' rents for small businesses that trade on Shepherds Bush Market?

Answer

Answer for Shepherds Bush Market

Answer for Shepherds Bush Market

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Andrew, the answer is that we are doing our best to help people on Shepherd's Bush Market and I have been round it, I think, at least a couple of times now. Clearly this market is going to feel the impact of Westfield very, very considerably, or potentially could feel the impact of Westfield opening on its doorstep so we have to watch with a very, very beady eye what happens to conditions for the traders there and whether they are able to compete. It is a historic market, it has been there for ages and ages and we should be making sure that we supply them with decent and affordable rents.

I am told that in the recent round of negotiations all 45 lease renewals were settled amicably. 43 of the traders decided to remain, none of the businesses concerned referred their cases to courts to determine rental levels and at least my transport officials tell me that they are satisfied that the rents are affordable and reasonable, but I am aware of the difficulties in this market; I am aware of the new pressure they are going to be under because of Westfield; I am aware of our duty as landlords to this market and obviously I am going to be watching the situation very carefully.

Andrew Boff (AM): Thank you, Mr Mayor. If this was a borough street market it would have a street trading account and the local authority would not be able to make any money out of Shepherd's Bush Market. Currently TfL are looking to make £1 million a year out of this market and a market that is very important for those people on low incomes and certain groups within London.

The problem we have here is of a wider one about TfL operating purely as a business and not operating under the guidance of the sensitivities that an organisation such as the GLA can have. They do not feel able to operate discounts because their remit is to get the most money out of everything they can and so therefore they are taking a rather narrow view of their commercial tenants. Not just markets but commercial tenants in general.

You very wisely said earlier in your introduction that of course we cannot do anything about reducing interest rates or cutting tax for London residents or for businesses, but one thing we could do is to ensure that in the Economic Recovery Plan the amount of money that small businesses are paying in rent, it would be a significant step towards making that recovery work. I would ask that you once again look at the relationship with TfL and their modus operandi that they are actually at the end of the day, even though they work on commercial pressures, are our body and under the role of the --

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): You are absolutely right. I see representatives of other markets across London around the room and I think there is a question coming up on Wards Corner in due course. I know our duty to this market and I am sure that now we have had this discussion I will be invited down to Shepherd's Bush Market and I will have another discussion with the stallholders at some stage about how they are getting on.

It is very, very important, if we are going to be landlords of this market at a time when we have encouraged and participated in this massive development in Westfield - which I do think is good for London; 500,000 people they had on the first weekend; it is generating jobs and growth in that part of West London - it is also our job to make sure that Shepherd's Bush Market is not unfairly hit by competition we have introduced on their doorstep. The argument that I bought is that actually there is a complementarity and that if you get more people coming through to Shepherd's Bush and you get a wonderful new tube station there as you have, then you will get casual traffic, you will get passers-by, you will get people who might have been coming to Westfield but actually pop across the road to the Shepherd's Bush Market and you actually increase footfall in the Shepherd's Bush Market rather than the reverse. That is the optimistic scenario and I want to watch and see what in fact happens.

Andrew Boff (AM): Thank you, Mr Mayor.