The saga surrounding Kohn Pedersen Fox's (KPF) controversial plans for Smithfield Market in central London have taken yet another twist.
Thornfield Properties, the developer behind the £200 million scheme, which would see the demolition of a number of historic market buildings, has withdrawn its second of three applications for the site.
The move leaves the developer with just one surviving proposal on the table - a seven-storey development which was given a 'fast-track' rubberstamping by the City of London last month to the consternation of heritage groups (City Planners face wrath of heritage groups for 'fast-tracking' KPF's Smithfield scheme
Although lower than earlier proposals, it is understood the remaining scheme will cover a larger area around the famous meat market.
According to a spokesman for Thornfield, the decision will mean the design and development team can concentrate on the one outstanding application - due to be heard before a public inquiry, possibly as early as August.
He said: 'This scheme is a more comprehensive approach - we want to focus our resources on that proposal, which also deals with the adjacent plot.'
However, SAVE Britain's Heritage, which has fought a protracted battle with the developers since the first plans were unveiled for the site in early 2004, feels this third version of the scheme is being rushed through.
A spokesman for the group said: 'SAVE believes that the inquiry should be postponed to allow us to properly grapple with all the issues surrounding this larger application, from the demolition of the general market to the frankly weird 1980s style facade-job proposed for the Red House and annex.'
He added: 'Even better though, they should withdraw this application and give up on trying to pull down these perfectly reusable and handsome historic market buildings.'by Richard Waite