Plans for the redevelopment of the Spitalfields Fruit and Wool Exchange building have been given the nod of approval by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
The plans, proposed by property developer Exemplar, and the City of London, were initially rejected by Tower Hamlets Council in June (2012). This led Mr Johnson to intervene.
Despite the fact that the development could create up to 2,300 jobs in the area, as well as London office space and retail amenities, some sections have reacted angrily to Mr Johnson’s decision. Most of the structure will be demolished. Upon hearing the decision some shouted “shame on you.”
Historian and local resident, Dan Cruickshank, expressed his disappointment but wasn’t surprised by the decision.
“We feared this would happen it is extremely sad (that) a very fine building is going to be reduced to nothing but an elevation and great interiors lost,” he stated.
The architect appointed to design the new scheme, Rab Bennetts, has moved to allay fears that all the original features will be replaced. He’s stated that the building’s facade will be retained and integrated into the new office and retail property.
Mr Bennetts commented: “We are keeping the facade of the existing building and integrating the new development around the back of it.”
Announcing his decision after a public hearing, held at City Hall, Mr Johnson stated: “These plans will not only restore the facade to its former glory, but regenerate the Spitalfields area with thousands of new jobs, and brand new commercial opportunities.
“It will also make a vital contribution to the wide London economy and have a significant impact not just on Tower Hamlets but on surrounding boroughs as well,” he concluded.
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