London Fruit and Wool Exchange listing bid fails

Brushfield Street... Fruit & Wool Exhcnage

Brushfield Street... Fruit & Wool Exhcnage - Credit: Exemplar Properties

A last ditch appeal to English Heritage to preserve the historic London Fruit and Wool Exchange has failed.

Draft plans for the London Fruit and Wool Exchange in Spitalfields

Draft plans for the London Fruit and Wool Exchange in Spitalfields - Credit: Archant

Campaigners asked the organisation to ‘spot list’ the iconic building in Spitalfields to block the planned redevelopment of the site.

But English Heritage refused the request, prompting fury from conservation group Save Britain’s Heritage (SAVE) - which has now called on secretary of state for culture Maria Miller to overrule the decision.

Under current plans, the building will be turned into shops and offices, with only the façade to remain in its current form.

SAVE’s president Marcus Binney said: “Preserving just one façade of a building with four show fronts and an interior which is complete apart from the woodwork of the auction rooms will be a pathetic example of tokenism.

“The Exchange frames the finest vista of any church of London – the view of Hawksmoor’s masterpiece Christ Church Spitalfields from Bishopsgate and the City.”

Mayor of London Boris Johnson called in the application for the redevelopment of the 1929 building to City Hall last year after Tower Hamlets Council blocked the move in light of local opposition.

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And in October, he gave the green light to the redevelopment, insisting it will help create 2,300 jobs.

But campaigners have repeatedly called for the plans for the 39,000 square metre site in Brushfield Street to be abandoned.

Historian Dan Cruikshank pointed to the building’s historical significance as the site of the East End’s largest World War Two air raid shelter as one reason for its preservation.

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