Smithfield market set to be turned into food centre and London offices


Campaigners are furious over the proposed plans to turn a historic market into a modern food centre and London offices.

A new £160m scheme is set to give Smithfield a modern facelift, replacing much of the market which has served the surrounding area for more than 800 years.

The new Smithfield Quarter scheme designed to restore trio of rundown Victorian buildings known as General Market, Fish Market and Red House, was submitted by fund management group, Henderson Global Investors.

The development will include a two-part piazza within the building, but it is the firms plans to build London offices in the area surrounding the market, which may stretch up to six storeys, or around 2o metres, in height, that have been particularly controversial with conversation campaigners.

However, Henderson claims that the inclusion of 170,00 sq ft of office space is the only way of making the project financially viable.

Henderson director of property development, Geoff Harris, said: “Our proposals are a thorough and legitimate response to the challenges of putting these buildings back into proper, long-term, sustainable use.”

The market, the last remaining one of its kind in central London, was originally built between 1866 and 1883, but many parts of it have stood derelict for a number of years.

Save Britain’s Heritage director, Clem Cecil, said: “It’s all very pretty, but it’s just throwing sparkly dust in our eyes.

“Look closely and it’s just hashed-together conservation detailing.”

She also voiced concern over whether, if work was carried out, there would be anything left of the original building apart from the façade.

A similar plan to replace the three disused buildings with an office development was rejected by then-communities secretary, Hazel Blears, in 2008.

If planning permission is granted this time, Henderson aim to have the project complete in 2017.

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