February 14, 2013
The controversial and long-awaited plans for the redevelopment of the derelict sections of Smithfield in London have been submitted by Henederson Global Investors. While the existing meat market will remain untouched, the £160m plan for the rest of the site includes the refurbishment of the former General Market, Fish Market and Red House Buildings, as well as the original engine house. Originally built between 1886 and 1883 by the architect of Tower Bridge Horace Jones, the historic site has been the subject of previous proposals including a controversial scheme by architects KPF which was thrown out after a 4 year battle in 2008.
Henderson claims it has been working with English Heritage and the City of London Corporation for over two years to ensure that the historic aspects of the site are maintained. The plan includes the conversion of the ground floors of the General Market, the Fish Market, the Red House and the old engine house into restaurants and shops. The majority of the building’s iconic perimeter will be retained, while new low-rise blocks of office space will be incorporated in to the central area of the general market. There will also be a significant area of new office space over six floors between the old Fish Market and Red House buildings.
Geoff Harris, director of property development at Henderson, said: “Significant investment is needed to properly restore them and to deliver the commercial and civic space that is needed to be able to make the venture a success. This needs a creative and pragmatic approach to the challenge and we are delighted to put forward proposals that combine restoration of the original buildings with the sensitive addition of new space.”
The area around Smithfield is well known for the proliferation of creative businesses in recent years and is home to the showrooms of many of the UK contract interiors industry’s most well known firms as well as hosting Clerkenwell Design Week each year.