Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for the Cities of London and Westminster, Nik Slingsby, is backing the campaign to save Smithfield Market and is supporting the conservation-based proposals submitted by SAVE (Save Britain’s Heritage) and the Victorian Society at the Public Inquiry in to Henderson Global Investors plans, which would totally destroy the famous market, which starts on 11th February.
The SAVE and Victorian Society proposals are to repair these magnificent buildings and reopen them as a retail market and food destination, uses that will secure the preservation of these historic buildings and the character of the area. The market would be run by Urban Space Management, founded by Eric Reynolds, who has brought Camden Market, Spitalfields and many other markets back into use, and would be financially viable.
The Public Inquiry is being fought by SAVE Britain’s Heritage and the Victorian Society against the GLA, the City of London and Henderson Global Investors. The Secretary of State called it in for Public Inquiry in September 2013.
English Heritage, in a volte face, is supporting the Henderson scheme saying that it does not cause ‘substantial harm’ to the Smithfield conservation area, although they opposed the demolition of the General Market in a previous public inquiry.
At the Public Inquiry SAVE and the Victorian Society will be presenting a strong and robust case that covers the architectural merits of the buildings, the viability of bringing them back into use and the paucity of the Henderson scheme both in terms of design and sustainability.
Nik Slingsby said;
“Having worked and studied close to the beautiful Smithfield Market, I fully support Save Britain’s Heritage and the Victorian Society’s planning application for the Smithfield General Market and Annex. Their scheme would preserves the Victorian heritage of the market while creating an urban centre of food markets, restaurants and cafes. This is an exciting and historically sensitive alternative to Henderson Global Investors’ radical redevelopment of the market into office blocks.”
Smithfield General Market was built in the late 19th Century by City Surveyor Sir Horace Jones, architect of Billingsgate and Leadenhall markets and Tower Bridge. Together with the meat and poultry markets the General Market makes up the grandest procession of market buildings in Europe. It is a public asset, owned by the City of London Corporation. They have let it lie empty and largely unused for some 15 years.
The case against the Henderson scheme is set out by Marcus Binney, Executive President of SAVE
What they say
“Smithfield was the scene of many martyrdoms – this would be another.” Alan Bennett, playwright and author and supporter of the Save Smithfield Campaign
“Henderson’s proposed gutting of Smithfield General Market will be the worst mutilation of a Victorian landmark in 30 years. Eric Reynolds’ offer shows there is no commercial necessity for this destruction, and that refurbishment is a viable alternative.” Marcus Binney, SAVE President
“Smithfield General Market is a wonderfully characterful complex which could have a great future. The Victorian Society and SAVE are fighting a David and Goliath battle to save this important part of London’s soul.” Chris Costelloe, Director of the Victorian Society
“We have worked with the Victorian Society and SAVE to produce a planning application that enables the re-launch of the buildings as a market based destination for independent food, creative business and cultural enterprise. We will build upon the site’s position at the heart of London, its unrivalled transport connections and Farringdon’s global reputation as a destination for creative business and British food.” Eric Reynolds, Founding Director of Urban Space Management