Monday, 27 January 2014

Report finds alternative plans for Smithfield would make £22.23m loss

Alternative plans for the redevelopment of Smithfield market would make a loss of £22.23m, according to a report by Knight Frank.

The report, commissioned by Henderson as part of the public inquiry into the scheme, said a number of miscalculations in evidence put forward by opposition group SAVE meant there was a £4.78m shortfall in the amount of equity and/or debt required alone.

SAVE wants to retain all of the original fittings and interiors from the grade II-listed scheme and has proposed its own alternative development.

Henderson’s £160m proposals, which include the partial demolition of the existing buildings at 43 Farringdon Street to create office and retail space and the partial demolition of 25 Snow Hill and 29 Smithfield Street to provide further office and retail space, were called in by secretary of state Eric Pickles in September last year.

The Knight Frank report, which was handed to the inquiry today, found that SAVE’s proposed alternative for the site is based on receiving a 20 year term for the loan, which “is virtually unobtainable in today’s market”.

Andrew Tyler, partner at Frank Knight, who wrote the report, said: “It is clear from our findings that SAVE’s revised proposal is still economically unviable and not deliverable.  I do not believe that funding can be obtained for the proposal and there has been no evidence submitted to confirm that either the equity or the debt is actually achievable on this scheme.”

SAVE president Marcus Binney said: “Henderson’s proposed gutting of Smithfield General Market will be the worst mutilation of a Victorian landmark in 30 years. Eric Reynolds’ offer shows there is no commercial necessity for this destruction, and that refurbishment is a viable alternative.”

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