The City of London Corporation made a “monumental mistake” when it approved John McAslan & Partners’ Smithfield scheme
27 February 2014 | By Elizabeth Hopkirk
The City of London Corporation made a “monumental mistake” when it approved John McAslan & Partners’ Smithfield scheme, a rival developer told the public inquiry.
The £160 million proposal would result in the loss of three-quarters of the Victorian general market, said Richard Upton, chief executive of Cathedral.
He is working on a counter-proposal which would see the derelict buildings retained and converted into a retail market.
He argued this was just as viable as the McAslan scheme for Henderson Global Investors and was simply based on a different commercial approach.
There were enough tenants demanding heritage spaces to make the creation of new-build A-grade offices on the site unnecessary, he said.
“A retention scheme that keeps all the buildings at Smithfield is not only viable, but with the right impetus, utterly deliverable. It is all about approach,” he said.
He also claimed it could happen without touching the market’s basement which is controlled by Henderson.
Upton was prevented from reading out a more detailed testimony by Henderson’s QC on the grounds that he had submitted it too late.
In this document, seen by BD, he says he felt compelled to get involved because of the financial imbalance between Henderson and the conservation groups that fought for the public inquiry, Save and the Victorian Society.
The inquiry is due to end on Friday.
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