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Overruled: London Mayor approves 'rejected' London Fruit & Wool Exchange plans

Boris Johnson has overturned a decision by Tower Hamlets council and allowed a major Bennetts Associates’ scheme next to Spitalfields Market in London

The London Mayor used his special ‘power to approve’ after calling in the contentious proposals for the re-development of the 1929 London Fruit & Wool Exchange in June (see AJ 25.06.2012).

The 2,500m² office and retail-led project, which had come in for criticism from a number of campaign groups including Spitalfields Community Action and the Spitalfields Historic Building Trust, was controversially rejected by the borough’s planning committee, despite officer recommendations to approve (see AJ 06.06.2012).

Only the facade of the 1929 Fruit and Wool Exchange on Brushfield Street will be retained under the plans which have been drawn up for developer Exemplar.

Rab Bennetts of Bennetts Associates said: ‘This is an enormously important building as it shows how a major commercial property can form the backdrop to a lively conservation area and to Hawksmoor’s Christ Church.  By integrating the best of the existing building into the project, the design retains historical links with the market and adopts a form that would otherwise not have been possible.’

The scheme is due for completion in 2015.

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