SAVE Britain’s Heritage has launched an online petition against John McAslan & Partners’ contentious plans to overhaul Smithfield Market in central London.
According to project backer Henderson Global Investors, the scheme has been submitted for planning this week following ‘ongoing consultation and work with the City [of London] and English Heritage over the last two years’ and will transform the General Market, Fish Market and Red House into offices and shops.
However, despite amendments to initial designs revealed last October (AJ 12.10.2012), SAVE insists the revised McAslan plan is still a ‘thinly veiled application for an office development with only a nod towards conservation’ which will see the demolition of a ‘remarkable group of Victorian market hall interiors.’
The conservation group is now petitioning architecture and heritage minister Ed Vaizey to step in and is also demanding that recommendations from a public inquiry four years ago into the earlier, even more controverisal KPF proposals are adherred to (AJ 07.08.2008).
SAVE director Clem Cecil said: ‘A public inquiry into the proposed demolition of the general market in 2008 came down firmly in favour of the retention of the building.
‘The Inspector ruled that the buildings should be put on the open market, before demolition was allowed. Henderson’s must not be allowed to avoid this test.’
She added: ‘Henderson is making extraordinary claims about how much of the existing fabric it intends to retain. What they are actually doing is getting rid of about 90 per cent of what is there – it is basically a new build within a skin.’
SAVE has also commissioned an alternative plan, drawn up by John Burrell of Burrell Foley Fischer, the scheme is being billed as a viable, conservation-led alternative to the Henderson concept for the unlisted market (AJ 14.11.2012).