Pickles and celebs scupper plans for £160m Smithfields project

Communities secretary Eric Pickles yesterday rejected as “wholly unacceptable” a £160m plan to develop London’s Smithfield market, siding instead with campaigners battling to save the site from becoming a new complex of offices, shops and restaurants.

The campaign against the plans for the redevelopment of the Victorian fish and general market halls, derelict for 15 years, had been led by the Victorian Society and Save Britain’s Heritage and backed by high profile names such as Alan Bennett and Four Weddings and a Funeral star Kristin Scott Thomas.

Property investor TIAA Henderson’s Geoff Harris said: “We are surprised and extremely disappointed with the decision taken by the Secretary of State, which, in our view, has been influenced by a disingenuous campaign employed by a small minority of objectors.

“Our scheme was supported by English Heritage, the City of London, the mayor of London and the Smithfield Market Tenants’ Association.”

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