Eric Pickles, Communities Secretary, has rejected the proposal to build new office blocks at Smithfield Market retaining only the facades.
Burrell Foley Fischer prepared alternative plans for the redevelopment of London’s Smithfield Market, for SAVE Britain's Heritage and the Victorian Society. The scheme proposes the restoration of the existing 19th Century Buildings to form a new cultural and retail hub, to complement the already burgeoning “Smithfield Quarter’.
The impressive roofs of Smithfield General Market would be retained as a fantastic canopy and creating a beautiful light-filled interior. The scheme makes available large areas, at multiple levels, without the addition of intrusive blocks. The very extensive basement areas are brought into use as spaces for exhibition galleries, fashion shows and lecture halls.
The successful outcome of the Pubic Inquiry follows two years of campaigning work involving BFF. This started when SAVE first asked John Burrell to look at the project in 2012. He immediately realised that it was not just the street facades that were important but also the magnificent formal roof structure covering the interior market spaces, and the spatial and development potential of the vast basements that originally linked Farringdon and Barbican stations which are hidden from view.
BFF showed that was not necessary to demolish the above ground structures in a futile attempt to make a 'conventional' development site because the real value, interest and 'cache' was embodied in the existing buildings, their street connections and the huge relatively uncontentious potential and value of below ground spaces, especially with the new Crossrail platforms soon to be close by.
The campaigning document produced for SAVE by BFF showed how the street spaces around the market can become the focus of a major new urban space in London affirming the identity of the Smithfield quarter and its street life that is already underway. John presented this evidence to the Public Inquiry.