John McAslan is working on revised proposals to overhaul Smithfield Market ‘as a mainly retail offer’ after Eric Pickles threw out the practice’s controversial office-led scheme for the site earlier this year
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It is understood that a retail-focused overhaul of the central London Victorian market is one of the main options being considered by developer and leaseholder Henderson Global Investors following the community secretary’s refusal of McAslan’s original plans in July (AJ 08.07.14).
But the developer has not ruled out selling the site or sitting on the plot until the lease runs out in 2020.
The news comes as SAVE Britain’s Heritage, a key campaigner against McAslan’s scheme, called on Pickles to begin compulsory purchase proceedings for the market to save it from ‘deliberate neglect’.
In a letter to Pickles, the conservation organisation’s president Marcus Binney said he was ‘dismayed’ by the ‘response from the City [of London] and the owners [Henderson] and indeed English Heritage’ for their lack of urgency over the market’s future, which has been in doubt since the result of the public inquiry was announced.
SAVE says it favours a compulsory purchase to stop ‘the deliberate neglect of an important heritage asset’ and argues that it would be in the ‘public interest’ to repair and regenerate the Smithfield General Market buildings rather than let them stand empty.
Meanwhile it emerged last week that Prince Charles had backed the campaigners who successfully battled against McAslan’s £160 million scheme.
Eric Reynolds, who drew up rival conservation-led proposals to save the market, confirmed that the prince had been supportive throughout and had written a letter stating his joy after Pickles officially rejected the significant overhaul of the existing blocks.
Henderson declined to comment.
(AJ 15.09.14) SAVE demands goverment steps in to rescue Smithfield
(AJ 10.09.14) Prince Charles supported anti-McAslan Smithfield lobby