By News Reporters
A former vicar of the All Souls Clubhouse in Fitzrovia spoke in favour of the demolition and redevelopment of the Fruit and Wool Exchange building in Spitalfields at a public hearing in front of the Mayor of London last night.
The plans by Exemplar were approved by Boris Johnson at a meeting despite strong local opposition to the redevelopment, and which overturned the decision taken earlier in the year by Tower Hamlets council.
Exemplar’s plans, which include demolishing the Fruit and Wool Exchange leaving one facade and obliterating a seventeenth-century street, were strongly opposed by Dan Cruickshank, Peter Boisseau, Charles Gledhill and Paul Johnston on behalf of The Spitalfields Trust and The Spitalfields Community Group.
The reverend Andy Rider introduced himself by stating “I am the rector of Christ Church Spitalfields and soon to be area dean of Tower Hamlets.” He said he was a trustee of the Grade I listed Christ Church Spitalfields and went on to say that although he was also a member or The Spitalfields Community Group he held a different view and “welcomed this development proposal for a number of reasons”.
Reverend Rider had served for ten years as a vicar at All Souls Clubhouse in Cleveland Street until 2003 when he moved to Christ Church Spitalfields.
The Mayor Boris Johnson also referred to reverend Rider’s submission as part of the reasons for allowing the development to go ahead. The meeting was webcast and can be viewed here.
The stage III planning report also included a submission from the rector of Christ Church Spitalfields:
I am supportive of the plans to redevelop the LFWE site which overlooks our church and gardens. I have requested that our crypt and gardens be considered for improvement as potential planning obligations. Consideration should also be given to compensation in view of the considerable impact on the church by way of dust, noise and dirt during construction. Replacement trees long Brushfield Street should improve the vista of Christ Church Spitalfields (page 25).
The full report is available here.
Dan Cruickshank accused the Mayor of being “autocratic”. He told the East London Advertiser: “Boris is judge and jury on our heritage. The whole process has come down to one man, despite a people’s petition with 800 names.”
Exemplar are currently carrying out a development called Fitzroy Place on the former Middlesex Hospital site in Fitzrovia which they received planning permission for from Westminster Council earlier this year. The development was strongly opposed by local people and parents of All Souls School also wrote objecting to the plans.