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Calls for a less damaging approach to Greenwich market

The unique character of Greenwich market will be lost if plans to redevelop the site are given the go-ahead, according to the Victorian Society.

Greenwich Hospital, which owns the market, has applied to remove the market roof, the cobbled street surface and the stables. It wants to build a new market, incorporating shops, workshops and a boutique hotel. The market structure is not listed as a building of national importance, but it is listed locally by Greenwich Council. It is also in a World Heritage Site, and a conservation area.

The society is concerned that, contrary to government planning guidelines there has been no presumption in favour of keeping the historic features.

'Greenwich Hospital has acknowledged that it is important to preserve the unique character of the market, yet its plans involve removing all the things that form that unique character - the roof, the cobble setts and the former stables', said Alex Baldwin, Conservation Adviser for the Victorian Society. 'These apparently modest features are integral to the appeal of Greenwich market, which has traded for more than 180 years, they must be kept.'

The newly renovated Barlow train shed at St Pancras is testament to how modern glazing materials and paint can transform a space. At present the 1908 roof is covered with corrugated plastic, a different material could be used to allow the light to flood in, which retaining the original structure.

A more sensitive approach is also needed for the cobbles and for the stable building; an attractive structure near the entrance that helps us to understand how the market functioned in the past.

'The architects talk of wanting to preserve a memory of the market and its character, but why preserve a memory when it is possible to retain and improve the market itself.'


Friday 12 June, 2009

More recent item: Fresh approach needed for the Royal Alex
Earlier item: The fight begins to prevent demolition of an historic Sussex church

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