A controversial redevelopment of the historic Smithfield market in London is the “only viable option” according to property consultant Knight Frank

Smithfield Quarter - John McAslan + Partners

The John McAslan + Partners design for developer Henderson Global Investors has drawn criticism from heritage campaigners, who object to plans to demolish part of the Victorian building.

Henderson’s plans for the development received planning permission in July 2013.

But in October last year campaign group Save Britain’s Heritage submitted a planning application for an alternative scheme for the market which involved no demolition of the existing building.

Today, Knight Frank submitted a report to the Public Inquiry on the scheme which concluded Save Britain’s Heritage’s plan was “economically unviable”.

Andrew Tyler, partner at Frank Knight, said a “refurbishment scheme” would be “entirely unviable”

He said: “Refurbishment of the existing structure would be very challenging and would ultimately produce inefficient and fragmented space, which would fail to attract sufficient rental income. 

“Based on my experience of dealing with development within the City, the proposal from Save Britain’s Heritage is a paper exercise and has a number of fundamental flaws in its conception and more importantly finances.

“Henderson’s development will appeal to occupiers from all sectors of business, including technology, media and telecoms through to financial services, and is clearly viable in terms of producing a positive land value.”