I've been talking to the new Leader of H&F Council, who has given me his first response to the Court decision over the Goldhawk Road shops. Speaking to the London Assembly this week Mr Botterill's predecessor Stephen Greenhalgh said he expected the Council to "learn" from the judgement, so I wrote to Nick to ask him what he made of it.
Here's what Mr Botterill had to say:
"On SBM I think it is important to understand that the court's judgement was not focused on the merits of the scheme, the planning application itself, or even the council's adopted planning policies for this area. The issue at stake was only the technical status of the supplementary planning document (SPD) and the appropriate procedure through which it had been prepared and adopted. I understand the concerns of Goldhawk Road traders and assure you that everything was done to see whether the original shop frontages could remain. In addition all the businesses have been given the opportunity to return to Goldhawk Road. I do want Shepherds Bush market to survive and to ensure that it remains a cultural icon for west London for another 100 years - I believe that this development will secure this".So not much change there then, and it seems that lawyers will be the ultimate decision makers. The traders lawyers, who won the case, are very clear that the judgement means the development is now halted and are set to take further action.
But on a more positive note I described Nick as someone with better listening skills when it first became clear he was a candidate for leadership of our Council, and he also strikes a concilliatory note. Here's what he said:
"As the new leader of the Council, I want to connect with all residents in Shepherds Bush (as well as the rest of the borough) in listening and learning about what they think the Council is doing well on and where there are areas for improvement".I like Nick - he has a track record of intervening and getting things done where they need to be, and is much more of a consensus politician. I think he'll be good for Shepherd's Bush and the borough as a whole.
One of his challenges is going to be doing things his own way in the wake of Greenhalgh's bulldozer tactics. No doubt some of his more, er, radical colleagues will be urging him to carry on pressing on regardless with the approach to communities in the North of the borough that has been the case thus far but I'm quite optimistic that he'll resist that and do things in his own way. You don't have to steamroller people to earn respect.