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Smithfield Market buildings are saved as Hazel Blears blocks KPF scheme…

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears has blocked KPF's controversial proposals to demolish Smithfield General Market in central London and replace it with a £200 million office building.

The practice, backed by Thornfield Properties, had hoped to demolish the 19th-century market buildings in the City of London, but Blears turned down the proposals following a public inquiry held last year.

In the inspector’s decision letter, Blears claims that the market buildings add to the character of the surrounding area, as well as providing necessary context for nearby listed buildings.

The letter stated: ‘[The secretary of state] considers that the existing buildings on the site make a significant contribution, not only to the character and appearance of the Smithfield Conservation Area, but also to the settings of adjoining Conservation Areas and nearby listed buildings.

‘The Secretary of State concludes that the [KPF] proposals would cause harm to the character and appearance of the conservation area and the setting of listed buildings. She considers that the proposals would conflict with PPG15 [which deals with the protection of the historic environment] and development plan policies which aim to preserve or enhance the character and appearance of conservation areas and preserve listed buildings.

‘She therefore concludes that there is a presumption in favour of retaining the buildings.’

A Thornfield spokesman said: 'We clearly are disappointed by today's decision by the Secretary of State.

'Thornfield will now give careful consideration to the government decision and comments contained in the inspector’s report. We will then bring forward, within a short period, revised proposals that take account of the Secretary of State’s comments.

'We have been working on this project for more than five years and are committed to carrying it through to planning permission and full development of the site.'

Click here to read about Hazel Blears' decision to block a Compulsory Purchase Order in the Croydon Gateway

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