Monday, 3 February 2014

Labour comes out against McAslan’s Smithfield plans

The Labour Party has waded into the ‘Second Battle of Smithfield’ after coming out against John McAslan + Partners’ contentious £160 million plans for the London market

The party’s Parliamentary Candidate for the Cities of London and Westminster, Nik Slingsby, said he supported an alternative plan to ‘sensitively’ repair and reopen the famous Victorian market proposed by SAVE - the lead campaigner against McAslan’s ‘destructive’ designs.

His comments come just days before the public inquiry (11 February) into McAslan’s plans - drawn up for Henderson Global Investors - which would see the General Market and Annex converted into 5,700m² of shops and 21,220m² of office space.

Slingsby said: ‘Having worked and studied close to the beautiful Smithfield Market, I fully support SAVE’s and the Victorian Society’s [rival] planning application.

‘Their scheme would preserve the Victorian heritage of the market while creating an urban centre of food markets, restaurants and cafes [run by Eric Reynold’s Urban Space Management]. This is an exciting and historically sensitive alternative to Henderson’s radical redevelopment of the market into office blocks.’

McAslan’s proposals were called in by communities secretary Eric Pickles last September (see below) after winning planning from the City of London in July 2013.

It is the second time a major scheme for the decaying central London market site has been scrutinised at public inquiry.

Six years ago KPF’s controversial proposal to flatten the buildings and replace them with a huge office scheme was thrown out by communities secretary Hazel Blears.

Defending his scheme last month, John McAslan said the proposed development would give ‘the old and the new a living and enduring future.’

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