Wealth Manager - the site for professional investment managers

Register for full access to Citywire’s Fund Manager database, news and analysis. Registration is free and only takes a minute.

Henderson set for public battle over Smithfield redevelopment

1 comment
Henderson set for public battle over Smithfield redevelopment

A public inquiry beginning tomorrow will pit Henderson Global Investors against Save Britain’s Heritage over the redevelopment of London’s Smithfield Market.

Henderson plans to turn the presently derelict Victorian market building into a retail and office complex, which would involve removing the market’s roof.

The scheme is supported by Boris Johnson, the City of London Corporation, English Heritage, and the Smithfield market tenants’ association.

However, it is opposed by Save Britain’s Heritage and the Victorian Society. Their campaign has secured backing from celebrities including Alan Bennett and Kristin Scott Thomas.

‘If you go to St Bartholomew’s and then walk through Smithfield, it is like walking from one cathedral to another. You wouldn’t pull down St Bartholomew’s, nor should you pull down Smithfield,’ said Bennett.

Scott Thomas added: ‘Smithfield general market is a beautiful example of Victorian architecture. We should be treasuring this part of our heritage. What the Paris developers did to Les Halles is remembered as an act of vandalism. Do we really want to be remembered as the generation who did the same thing to London?’

In response, Henderson cited a YouGov poll revealing that 54% of Londoners questioned believed that the Smithfield project should go ahead as soon as possible, with just 17% against.

‘These results show that Londoners support our scheme, which will save and bring back to life Victorian market buildings that have lain empty for decades. The clear majority recognise that Smithfield Quarter will change the area for the better, will be effective in retaining the Victorian appearance of the buildings and should go ahead as soon as possible,’ commented Geoff Harris, director of property development at Henderson.

‘The Victorians were good at change, yet it is striking that there is a tendency for some to represent change as threatening and unacceptable. By a clear margin most Londoners do not share this view and want to see us improve and regenerate the area as quickly as possible.

‘There is no realistic alternative to Smithfield Quarter and if our scheme does not get approved then these disused historic buildings will continue to decay, leaving the site blighted by further uncertainty.’

The site was previously owned by Thornfield, whose plans for Smithfield were rebuffed by a public inquiry in 2008. Thornfield subsequently went into administration and the property was acquired by Henderson in 2010. The historic market buildings have been derelict for more than 30 years.

Henderson has estimated that the development will cost it £160 million, and has already spent approximately £4 million on structural improvements to the railway system beneath the market.

Leave a comment!

Please sign in or register to comment. It is free to register and only takes a minute or two.
Citywire TV
Play Investment Pulse: the highs and lows of 2014

Investment Pulse: the highs and lows of 2014

This week's Investment Pulse looks back at some of the biggest stories of the year as well as looking forward to 2015.

Play Inside ETFs: Why the US bull-run still has legs

Inside ETFs: Why the US bull-run still has legs

Global equities suffered a sharp sell-off in the third quarter but exchange traded fund investors are continuing to back the US to outperform in 2015

Play Paul Niven: I won't rip up the Foreign & Colonial Trust history book

Paul Niven: I won't rip up the Foreign & Colonial Trust history book

The newly appointed manager of the Foreign & Colonial trust talks about his plans for UK's oldest investment company.

Your Business: Cover Star Club

Manchester wealth firm hires Coutts director for London launch

Manchester wealth firm hires Coutts director for London launch

Former Coutts director Tony Robinson has joined Chartered Wealth Management to head the company’s newly opened London office.

Wealth Manager on Twitter