Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Victorian Society & SAVE submit planning application for Smithfield General Market and Annex

The alternative scheme put forward in the planning application submitted by the Victorian Society and SAVE Britain's Heritage for the historic Smithfield General Market involves no demolition.  It is based on a viable and fundable business plan from Urban Space Management, who have successfully brought Camden Market, Greenwich Market, Spitalfields Market and many other markets throughout the country back into vibrant use.

In February 2014 (11th-28th) there will be a  public  inquiry into the future of Smithfield General Market and its stunning Annex building. This will determine whether Henderson Global Investors will be able to demolish most of the site and build two large office blocks.

The Public Inquiry is being fought by the Victorian Society and SAVE Britain's Heritage against the GLA, the City of London and Henderson Global Investors. The Secretary of State called it in for Public Inquiry in September this year.

English Heritage, in a volte face, is supporting the Henderson scheme saying that it does not cause 'substantial harm' to the Smithfield conservation area, although EH opposed the demolition of the General Market in a previous public inquiry.

The Victorian Society/SAVE scheme, drawn up by John Burrell of Burrell, Foley, Fischer, will save the General Market and its unique interiors and handsome top-lit market halls for the nation and create a new bustling hub in the heart of London.

Smithfield General Market was built in the late 19th Century by City Surveyor Sir Horace Jones, architect of Billingsgate and Leadenhall markets and Tower Bridge.  Together with the Smithfield meat and poultry markets, the General Market makes up the grandest procession of market buildings in Europe. It is a public asset, owned by the City of London Corporation, which has let it lie empty for many years.

The Victorian Society’s Director Chris Costelloe said: “Smithfield Market has a character like no other part of central London.  Preserving this is a matter of national importance.  Our viable scheme for the site would boost the local economy and give these important buildings a long term future.  By contrast the Henderson scheme would cause substantial harm to the conservation area.  We are pleased to be standing side by side with SAVE Britain's Heritage in this campaign.”

SAVE Director Clem Cecil said  "We are delighted to be working with the Victorian Society on this planning application that is a crucial aspect of our case for the public inquiry. We are saying loud and clear that this heritage is important for London and the nation and can be protected and bring economic benefit."

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