Bennetts Associates' plans include demolishing all but the facade of the 1929 Fruit & Wool ExchangeSource: Miller Hare
News could signal imminent go-ahead for rejected scheme
Boris Johnson has called in Bennetts Associates’ Spitalfields development in a move those close to the developer are cautiously celebrating.
The Mayor of London has stepped into the row over plans to redevelop two blocks, including the Fruit and Wool Exchange, after Tower Hamlets councillors rejected the application against the advice of their officers.
He will now “act as the local planning authority” in deciding the scheme, possibly before the end of the summer.
Johnson said the proposals, by Exemplar, “would generate employment and contribute to the increasing offer presented by [the capital’s] Central Activities Zone, serving to increase London’s world city status”, a key economic objective of the London Plan.
He also said they would help fund Crossrail through that scheme’s business tariff.
Tower Hamlets planning councillors rejected their officers’ recommendation on June 6 and refused the application.
Their grounds were the extent of demolition of buildings in a historic area and the failure to provide onsite housing.
They were also said to have been influenced by rival proposals drawn up by local architect Johnson Architecture.
After the meeting Rab Bennetts told BD he would be prepared to back an appeal by Exemplar.
He said at the time: “It was extraordinary. In the two and a half years we have been working on it we have had 14 meetings with planning officers, 30 public consultation meetings and two recommendations for approval by planning officers. I think these figures speak for themselves.”
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