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Boris Johnson ‘calls in’ Spitalfields Fruit and Wool Exchange application

PUBLISHED: 16:36 21 June 2012 | UPDATED: 11:52 22 June 2012

Spitalfields Fruit and Wool Exchange development plans

Spitalfields Fruit and Wool Exchange development plans

Archant

Boris Johnson has called in the planning application for the redevelopment of the Spitalfields Fruit and Wool Exhange after Tower Hamlets council rejected the proposals.

Boris Johnson has ‘called in’ the planning application for the redevelopment of the Spitalfields Fruit and Wool Exhange after Tower Hamlets council rejected the proposals.

The Mayor of London submitted a letter to the council this week in which he notified them of his intention to consider the application himself.

In the letter, Mr Johnson said there are numerous reasons for the project to go ahead, arguing that it can help deliver job and economic growth to Tower Hamlets.

He wrote: “The application would contribute to the delivery of Central Activities Zone (CAZ) priorities with regard to the need to secure adequate office capacity to meet future demand.

“It would generate employment (...) serving to increase London’s world city status.”

The Mayor also stated that the development would incorporate a £2m contribution from the developers to the Crossrail project.

A Tower Hamlets council spokesperson said: “The council is aware that the application for planning permission for the redevelopment of the London Fruit and Wool Exchange has been “called in” by the London Mayor and will be engaging as part of the “call-in” process, once the schedule for a hearing has been confirmed.”

Mr Johnson’s decision to call the application in is likely to provoke opposition from campaigners, who have worked hard to protect The Exchange and The Gun public house.

Speaking to the Advertiser, TV historian and Chair of the Spitalfields Trust Dan Cruikshank confirmed that the group would be seeking legal advice regarding the application, and will continue to oppose the redevelopment plans.

He said: “The wording of Mr Johnson’s letter suggests that he wants to find a reason to overturn the decision of Tower Hamlets and give the go-ahead to the scheme. I’m surprised by the lack of objectivity in the letter, which makes it seem like he’s made a decision before the enquiry has taken place.

“We will be seeking legal advice before making any submissions, but we will continue to oppose the development.”

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