Mayor of London approves Spitalfields Fruit and Wool Exchange

Out-Law News | 11 Oct 2012 | 4:22 pm | 1 min. read

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has approved developer Exemplar's plans to redevelop the London Fruit and Wool Exchange in Spitalfields in London's east end.

Under the plans for the 2.4 acre redevelopment an existing car park and part of the existing Fruit and Wool exchange will be demolished to allow the development of a six storey building and new pavillion with 387,000 square feet of office space and 32,000 sq ft of retail space. The existing facade of the building will remain in place. A contribution of £2 million towards Crossrail will be generated by the plans.

Tower Hamlets Council had refused Exemplar's planning application in June this year after putting the application on hold since March to discuss the need for improved jobs and housing schemes with Exemplar. After the Council's refusal, Johnson notified the Council that he would determine the application. The Mayor has powers to do this under the Town and Country Planning (Mayor of London) Order 2008, which allows him to direct that planning applications of potential strategic importance are determined by him instead of the local planning authority.

“The historic London Fruit and Wool Exchange, in the heart of London’s East End, is a former commercial epicentre to which producers and buyers flocked from miles around to do business," said Johnson. “These plans will not only restore the façade to its former glory, but regenerate the Spitalfields area with thousands of new jobs, and brand new commercial opportunities. It will also make a vital contribution to the wider London economy and have a significant impact not just on Tower Hamlets but on surrounding boroughs as well," he said.

“I can find no reason to refuse permission and am of the firm view that this ambitious and important redevelopment should go ahead,” he said.

Property consultant Gerald Eve, who advised Exemplar on the scheme, welcomed the Mayor's decision.

"The Mayor's support is very much to be welcomed, said Gerald Eve head of planning Hugh Bullock. "It was a critically important call because on a strategic level this scheme will make a major contribution to the wider London economy. It is also significant on the local level as it marks another important step in the continued enhancement and renewal of the Spitalfields area. Exemplar's scheme designed by Rab Bennetts is very well conceived as it boosts the capital's offer and is also sympathetic to its local surroundings," he said.

“This continues the generally positive trend of decisions of both the Mayor on Mayoral call-ins and appeals post NPPF,” said Richard Ford, planning expert at Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com.

Exemplar expects the redevelopment to complete in 2015.