Smithfields saved

Niki May Young
Friday 08 Aug 2008

Historic market space saved from demolition in 'regeneration' plan

Sir Terry Farrell opposed it, so did Eric Reynolds, the Smithfields regeneration will now have to undertake a dramatic re-think as it turns out, the Government opposes it too. Communities Secretary Hazel Blears has rejected plans for the regeneration of Smithfields Market in London submitted by Thornfield Properties and the City of London.

The revised Kohn Pedersen Fox-designed plans for the disused and run-down market were approved in April 2007 and included the demolition of the historic General Market building and the replacement with a seven-storey office and retail complex.

But English Heritage together with SAVE Britain's Heritage opposed the plans following approval and a public inquiry was launched in November last year. English Heritage said that there was clear evidence that the unlisted General Market building could be sympathetically renovated and that, "the proposed replacement - a seven-storey block - would be intrusive, undermining the diversity and human scale of the Smithfield Conservation Area and introducing an intensive office use".

Blears rejection statement fot the plans reflects this sentiment. She said the plans would, "significantly detract from the market complex as a whole".

Terry Farrell has designed a masterplan for the area which focuses on the re-use of the existing buildings and "reinstating them as the centre of activity within the local community". He issued a statement saying:

"London’s marketplaces are wonderful places and Smithfield Market, in particular, has the potential to be one of the most extraordinary and well-connected areas in the capital...

"Today’s decision is good news for markets and for London. It is also a victory for urban design and masterplanning over piecemeal development."

Niki May Young
News Editor

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