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Spitalfields campaign to fight on as scheme gets go-ahead

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Campaigners against Foster and Partners' plans for London's Spitalfields Market have pledged to take their fight to central government after the scheme won planning approval last week.

Bishops Square (pictured), the final phase of redevelopment of the Old Spitalfields market site in the East End, got the go-ahead from Tower Hamlets council last week and is understood to have the backing of London mayor Ken Livingstone.

But pressure group SMUT (Spitalfields Market Under Threat), which opposes the plans, said it would be lobbying minister Lord Rooker for a public inquiry. SMUT, whose supporters include Will Alsop, says the project will damage the historic context and character of the market.

The scheme - for the Spitalfields Development Group (SDG) and joint venture partner the Corporation of London - will include 70,000m 2of office space and 4,000m 2retail, public space and amenities. The market will be retained in the listed Horner Market Buildings at the eastern end of the site.

SMUT spokesperson Jemima Broadbridge said: 'We feel very betrayed that [Livingstone] presents himself as a man of the people, but ignores the views of the 40,000 people who signed the petition.'

However, SDG chief executive Mike Bear claimed the scheme 'integrates with Spitalfield's existing architecture and, at the same time, will be the key to the regeneration of the area'.

Construction is expected to begin early in 2003, with completion due by 2005.

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