Spitalfields planning application rejected after protests from local residents
After potential plans to demolish the London area of Spitalfields, campaigners are now celebrating a victory win against developers whose proposals have been turned down by the council.
The plans would have seen an end to one of London’s oldest and most famous markets, as well as The Gun pub and Dorset Street – home to Huguenot silk weavers’ houses and the scene of Mary Kelly’s death in 1888 by the hands of Jack the Ripper.
The plans led to many people protesting and campaigning to keep the area as it is, as they feared the expansion and development of the area coupled with the loss of the London Fruit and Wool Exchange would ruin the ambience of a place filled with an eclectic mix of artists and musicians.
Protesters were against the 300,000 sq ft office and retail project designed to replace the 1929 building, despite developers claiming that it would create over 2,000 new jobs and would therefore be good for the economy.
Spitalfields resident and television architectural historian Dan Cruickshank said that Tower Hamlets planners “weren’t convinced that the destruction of a Twenties building was warranted and they understood that eradiating an ancient thoroughfare was not acceptable.”
John Nicolson, BBC News Journalist, also said that, “the developers cynically offered a fig leaf to councillors, suggesting there would be jobs for locals if they allowed the demolition. But the councillors saw through them, realising there was no offer of jobs and no homes — just a giant new office block.”
However, Maxwell Shand, development director, has not given up hope for the re-development project, stating that “if we need to change the design or the mix of the development then we will do that.”
Formerly used to protect Londoners during the Blitz, as well as being the largest auction room in Britain, the building is currently utilised as office space to rent in Spitalfields, EC2 and holds a lot of history.
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