Councillors reject proposals to add new building

Foster + Partners’ plans to tweak the practice’s controversial redevelopment of Spitalfields Market with facelifted shopping areas and a new-build element to the north of the scheme have been rejected by Tower Hamlets councillors.

In the early 2000s the practice won planning to redevelop the grade II-listed City-fringe wholesale market, originally designed by George Sherrin, with a scheme that retained half of the original structure and replaced the remainder with a 72,000sq m office building with ground-floor retail and new public spaces that link to the retained market area.

The two schemes – named Old Spitalfields Market and Bishops Square – combine restaurants, event spaces, takeaway stands, permanent shops and market stalls and are a popular venue for both office workers and tourists.

The firm’s latest proposals would have given over more of Bishops Square’s ground-floor business space to retail use, altered some shopfronts, removed a canopy from the Market Street area and introduced a new two-storey building on Lamb Street.

Planning officers at Tower Hamlets council supported the application, arguing that the proposed changes would “enhance the vibrancy of the area and contribute to its character”.

But local residents aired concerns about the scheme’s new-build element – in particular their impact on the green space of Elder Gardens, immediately north of where the new building would be, and potential loss-of-light issues to nearby homes.

Fosters Market Street proposals

Foster + Partners’ proposed revisions to Market Street at Spitalfields. Hawksmoor’s Christ Church is in the background