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Smithfield fight takes legal turn

The battle over the west end of the Smithfield conservation area in London intensified last week, as the proposed developer decided to issue judicial review proceedings against the government.

Thornfield Properties made the legal move after becoming increasingly frustrated with culture secretary Tessa Jowell's failure to decide on an application to list the three empty buildings currently on the site.

The developer wants to force the minister to allow the KPFdesigned proposals for two new offices to proceed. But this would be a nail in the coffin for SAVE Britain's Heritage, which is determined to save the old buildings.

Thornfield Properties' managing director Mike Capocci said:'This decision should have been made months ago. The inexplicable time-wasting by the secretary of state is jeopardising the future sustainability of the area.' The buildings have been considered for listing four times since 1990 and on each occasion it was determined they did not meet the required criteria.

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