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Henderson Global Investors submits planning application for Smithfield Quarter

Henderson Global Investors has today submitted a planning application for Smithfield Quarter in London to regenerate the former General Market, Fish Market and Red House buildings, as well as the former engine house. The proposed development will retain and repair the historic fabric of the existing buildings that provide a positive contribution to the setting and context of the conservation area and new buildings set within the retained historic curtilage of the retained and restored buildings.

Henderson Global Investors has today submitted a planning application for Smithfield Quarter in London to regenerate the former General Market, Fish Market and Red House buildings, as well as the former engine house. The proposed development will retain and repair the historic fabric of the existing buildings that provide a positive contribution to the setting and context of the conservation area and new buildings set within the retained historic curtilage of the retained and restored buildings.



The proposals, designed by John McAslan + Partners, will provide a balance between the retained existing fabric and new build, supported by Henderson’s ongoing consultation and work with the City and English Heritage over the last two years. The proposed scheme will create a flexible, distinctive and high quality office and retail environment with public access, reactivating frontages and encouraging permeability through the site, connecting into the surrounding streets and adjacent urban neighbourhoods and bringing these buildings back to life. The design meets the highest standards for commercial civic architecture in the City of London whilst respecting its setting and historic importance.



The ground floors of the General Market, the Fish Market, the Red House and the old engine house will be put into reuse for restaurant and retail uses for local residents, workers, visitors and tourists, following extensive refurbishment and some adaption. The space will include a two part piazza (part external and part internal) within the General Market building and will be arranged to provide much needed vibrant and visually attractive activity to the neighbouring streets of all the buildings, as well as an internal focus to the ground floors of the General Market and annexe, reopening the buildings to public use along a through route from Harts Corner to West Smithfield and then on to Snow Hill. The majority of the Victorian perimeter of the General Market, and the entirety of the Fish Market and the old engine house, will be retained and receive much needed extensive restoration and refurbishment. The existing buildings will be enhanced with the sensitive inclusion of new low rise pavilions of office space to the central area of the General Market that will be arranged above the generously proportioned retail space set back from, and framed by, the retained Victorian buildings creating a curtilage on three sides.



In the Annex Building, some of its structure is currently inaccessible and unsound, the ground floor will comprise restaurant and retail units located within the retained and restored Fish Market arranged on either side of the existing passage. The underwhelming and out of context 1960’s storage area that currently sits between the Red House and the old Fish Market will be replaced with new office space arranged over six upper floors that will be “contained” by the retained and restored Victorian perimeter walls of the Red House and by the newly restored Fish Market building. The former engine house will also accommodate a small retail unit on the ground floor within the restored façade, with half a storey of plant on the roof with louvre surrounds.



As a result of public consultation on the proposals, amendments have been made to the General Market shopfront so that they are in keeping with the original historic design and the facades of the Annex Building have been changed to provide a simplified treatment with a closer relationship to the proposals for the General Market. In addition, there will be improved accessibility of the levels and ramp arrangement and retention of the internal walls and structure of the perimeter of the General Market building.

The proposed development has very good existing transport links and is easily accessible through a number of underground, rail and bus links and is located within very close proximity to a wide range of local amenities. The nearby CrossRail station at Farringdon will open in 2018. Motorcycle and cycle parking and changing facilities will be provided.



Geoff Harris, Director of Property Development at Henderson, said:

“The proposals are a result of significant research and analysis and a real commitment to retain the most significant parts of the building as they relate to the conservation area. Henderson has sought to treat the historic elements with care and respect. Our proposals are a thorough and legitimate response to the challenges of putting these buildings back into proper long term sustainable use, both in terms of heritage and in terms of the very real issue of commercial sense. The key to our proposals is adding enough density without being excessive, and in a way that is sympathetic to retaining as much of the Victorian fabric as possible. We have listened during the public consultation process over the last few months and made amendments to our proposals where possible.



“Our proposals for the revitalisation of Smithfield Quarter will enhance the public amenity, infrastructure and physical structure at the heart of Smithfield and will preserve its historic character in a modern and informal fashion. It represents a significant investment in growth and regeneration and will create a much livelier and active social and public space for Smithfield and the wider City. The retail and office space on offer will provide a significant step forward for the wider regeneration of the Farringdon area. The proposals will guarantee the future of the area whilst maintaining and respecting its architectural character, streets, places and patterns of activity.”



Kevin Lloyd, of John McAslan + Partners, said:

“We are delighted to be working with Henderson to deliver their vision for Smithfield Quarter, in one of the City’s most vibrant urban areas. The scheme is of a scale which balances the character and setting of the historic market, with a high quality and complementary contemporary development.”

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