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Concern at expansion extends around City

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Michael Bear of the Spitalfields Development Group, the property company keen to demolish half of Spitalfields Market for offices, warns that Astragal (AJ 5.7.01) implies 'Nimbyism' in describing the Corporation of London's predatory expansion into Tower Hamlets, and that he is 'verging on the libellous' (letters, AJ 19.7.01). This is preposterous nonsense.

Concern at the City's plans for expansion outside the Square Mile extends beyond Spitalfields Market around the entire arc of the City fringe.

Recently, concerned individuals met to coordinate their response to the mammoth office development planned for Bishopsgate Goodsyard, partly in Hackney. There is similar anxiety about the City's 'incremental creep' into Islington.

In its UDP, the City itself identifies such strategic development opportunities but, interestingly, it is only in its revised version of last October that the planners spotted how Spitalfields lies 'just outside the City' (para 2.13) - in Tower Hamlets, and not within the scope of its UDP at all.

The Corporation of London, the public authority for the City of London, owns the freehold for Spitalfields Market. It has a wonderful opportunity to pioneer an architectural solution which allows for some office development but which, avoiding wholesale demolition of the market, also recognises its historic vocation as a place of public gathering outside the City wall. The City desperately needs such places to provide some relief from the moneymaking all around. This is what more than 25,000 people who have signed a petition (many online at www. smut. org. uk) are calling on mayor Livingstone's assistance to ensure. We wait to see whether Lord Foster has succeeded in finding a solution.

William Taylor, Spitalfields Market Under Threat

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