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Get your facts right on future of Spitalfields

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I enjoy Astragal's column and admire his often incisive wit.

However, I was dismayed to see his usually fine judgement of where the line should be drawn had erred in the piece concerning Spitalfields (AJ 5.7.01).

To suggest the Corporation of London is not only guilty of the worst kind of 'Nimbyism' but that it controls a neighbouring planning authority is verging on the libellous rather than the mischievous.

On a less serious note, Astragal seems to have failed his history GCSE. Rather than moving to Frankfurt, LIFFE simply stayed in London because it did not need a new and larger location due to the transition from open outcry to screen-based trading.

The current proposals form the final phase of a comprehensive mixed-use scheme, which has been developed over 13 years, in accordance with the planning brief issued by Tower Hamlets in 1993. This followed the Parliamentary Act of 1990, which approved redevelopment of the site and the relocation of the fruit and vegetable market to Leyton (at our cost).

Astragal's grasp of facts isn't hot either - not that he seems to allow them to stand in the way of a story. The current stall market, introduced by developers, is being retained. It is the 1928 extension that is to be demolished. It is not in stall market use, having been hoarded up for some time. Nor will the commencement of the scheme pave the way for more demolition.

Far from the market being 'swept away', the popular skills will continue to trade in and around the Horner buildings, which are listed and cannot be demolished.

I urge readers to come and visit Spitalfields Market and its environs. Seeing is believing.

Michael D Bear, chief executive, Spitalfields Development Group

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