Monday, 10 February 2014

Developer Cathedral throws weight behind SAVE's alternative Smithfield plans

Design-savvy developer Cathedral has become the latest name to take up arms in the ‘Second Battle of Smithfield’

The company has pledged its support for rival plans to John McAslan + Partners’ contentious £160million proposals for the London market. The developer confirmed it will be ‘submitting detailed evidence’ for a scheme to retain the existing buildings at the public inquiry into McAslan’s proposed office-led revamp of the decaying landmark which starts tomorrow (11 February).

John McAslan's proposals for Smithfield General Market

John McAslan's proposals for Smithfield General Market

John McAslan's proposals for Smithfield General Market 

John McAslan's proposals for Smithfield General Market

An alternative scheme to McAslan’s ‘destructive’ plans for the Victorian market, drawn up by Burrell Foley Fischer, has been put forward by anti-demolition campaigners SAVE Britain’s Heritage and the Victorian Society. Cathedral said it had looked at the financial viability of keeping the existing fabric - and whether it could be be turned into a mixed-use scheme - rather than the specifics of the SAVE scheme.

Richard Upton, chief executive of Cathedral said: ‘At the request of SAVE, Cathedral Group and its team of professional advisers has undertaken a full viability assessment to establish a clear economic argument for a retention scheme which will enable the spirit and fabric of the historic Smithfield Market buildings to be preserved.

‘We are confident enough of this assessment to have requested an opportunity to present our detailed evidence to the inspector during the forthcoming public inquiry.’

However the move has been condemned by Henderson Global Investors, the developer behind McAslan’s ‘official’ scheme saying that the evidence offered by Cathedral should be disregarded.

Geoff Harris, development director of Henderson said: ‘We will be vigorously objecting to this blatant breach by SAVE of the Procedural Rules which govern public inquiries.

‘SAVE is showing contempt for the timetable for the submission of evidence set and agreed by all parties at the pre-inquiry meeting with the inspector last year.

He concluded: ‘There are no grounds for the submission of detailed evidence on the opening day of the public inquiry by the Cathedral Group on behalf of SAVE and this latest stunt by SAVE should be thrown out by the inspector.’

The inquiry is expected to last three weeks.

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