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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 May, 2004, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
Smithfield office plans unveiled
Developers' plans for Smithfield
The new development could include office, shops and restaurants
Controversial plans to redevelop part of one of London's oldest and most famous markets have been unveiled.

Developers want to put offices on the site of two buildings at Smithfield Market, in the City of London.

The Corporation of London has not yet granted planning permission, but says 1950s' repairs to the bomb-damaged buildings were "unsympathetic".

Heritage groups say the empty General Market and Annex buildings should be saved and re-used.

Thornfield Properties has submitted a planning application for 500,000 square feet of office space and a commercial market hall.

Managing director Michael Capocci said: "The new urban market will be flexible enough to combine a mix of kiosks and stalls with shops, restaurants and exhibition space."

The empty buildings
The General Market and Annex buildings were damaged in the war
He added it would create "an eclectic and vibrant mix" of businesses, galleries and workshops.

The buildings are on top of Thameslink train tunnels and the tunnel roofs are said to be in need of major repairs.

But some people fear the project could lead to the rest of the market being redeveloped when its lease expires in about 10 years' time.

Save Britain's Heritage says the empty buildings are examples of the work of Victorian architect Sir Horace Jones and should be saved and re-used.

Secretary Adam Wilkinson said: "They are part of the biggest group of market buildings in the UK.

"Our main concern is that we are going to lose two great buildings which could easily be re-used and just chuck them away in favour of a massive commercial development."

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