Reference NumberS/SCA
TitleRecords of the Spitalfields Community Association
DescriptionRecords of the Spitalfields Community Association.

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Extent67 boxes and 9 oversized items
AdminHistoryThe Campaign to Save Spitalfields from the Developers (CSSD), also known as the Save Spitalfields Campaign, was established as an umbrella group representing local residents, businesses and other organisations following a public meeting in early 1987. Its original remit was to try to stop the wholesale fruit and vegetable market from being moved from a site it had occupied in one form or another for 300 years.

There had always been pressure to relocate the Market. The 1976 Greater London Council (GLC) Development Plan identified the area as a prime office development area. The Market had been increasingly plagued with problems of rubbish and congestion. The presence of three conservation areas surrounding the Market and a number of listed Georgian houses meant that expansion on the existing site was impossible.

More serious considerations to moving the Market came in 1985. The Corporation of London received a number of speculative offers proposing the relocation of the existing Market and redevelopment of the site. The most serious offers came from Rosehaugh Stanhope and a consortium of developers (including Constain and London Edinburgh Trust) called the Spitalfields Development Group (SDG).

In 1986 the local authority for the area, the London Borough of Tower Hamlets (LBTH), produced a development brief which attempted to ensure that any development on the site also provided for the desperate local need for housing, open space and employment.

By 1987 planning permission had been granted and the Corporation had settled on the SDG offer to relocate the Market to Temple Mill and redevelop the site for office and retail use. Under Section 52 of the Town and Country Planning Act, the local authority did negotiate some local planning gain. This included £2.5m to a Charitable Community Trust, £250,000 for job training over a five year period, 118 housing units, and the provision on site of public open space, a Fashion Centre, a Law Centre, crèche and shops earmarked for use by local traders. In addition to this, since 1987 other proposals for large scale office development servicing City needs had been proposed for Bishopsgate Goodsyard and Truman's Brewery.

As Spitalfields Market operated under a Parliamentary Act, a Private Bill providing for the relocation of the Market to a new site had to be passed by Parliament before the redevelopment could progress. Under Parliamentary provision for Private, interested groups may petition Parliament to send the Bill to a Select Committee Hearing. The Bill went to a House of Commons Select Committee Hearing in June 1988 and to a House of Lords Hearing in May 1989. The Campaign's petitions against the passage of the Spitalfields Bill proved ultimately unsuccessful and the Bill was passed in 1990. However, their efforts did secure a substantial improvement in the Planning Gain agreement reached between LBTH and the developers. The allocation for training was increased from £50,000 per year for five years was increased to £150,000 per year for the same period. The Community Trust allocation was doubled from £2.5m to £5m.

In 1989, a fresh planning application was submitted for a bigger scheme, again with a planning gain package. Although Tower Hamlets Council and the City of London Corporation resolved to grant planning permission for this scheme, the Secretary of State for the Environment imposed an Article 14 Direction on 20 August 1990 which still presented the Council and the Corporation from making decisions on certain major planning application on the site. The 1989 application was then withdrawn.

A revised masterplan was thus devised by Foster and partners in 1997, combining the principles of the original with the specific requirements of LIFFE. The open public space of Bishops Square and the creation of Market Street were among the features retained, and the original plan to remove part of the Horner Buildings' glass roof was scrapped. In the final reshaping of the masterplan, Hammerson plc (who had acquired a controlling interest in SDG) and the City of London Corporation worked with Foster and Partners to achieve a mixed use development of a single 70,000 sq. metre office surrounded by open spaces, retail, restaurants, stall units and residential dwellings.

In December 1997, London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange (LIFFE) were granted planning permission on an amended masterplan for the area. However, within 6 months their requirements had changed and they decided not to move. It was then that the City of London Corporation bought back the leasehold for the LIFFE site and the SDG were appointed agents.

The Spitalfields Community Association was formed in April 1998 by local residents, tenants associations, small businesses and other organisations actively involved within the boundaries to ensure that the interests of people living, working or studying in the area affected by any significant redevelopment proposals were protected.

The Association was formed by supporters of the Save Spitalfields Campaign and as a result of increasing pressure on land, residents and businesses within its boundaries.

The Spitalfields Communities aimed to:
a) Be involved with and participate in decision making processes that affect the standards of life, work and environment for everyone who lives, works or studies in the area;
b) Protect the interests of people living, working or studying in the area affected by any significant redevelopment proposals;
c) Secure redevelopment which will primarily benefit the residents and small businesses in the area though low cost social housing, employment for local people, increase and protect public open spaces and enhance shopping and community facilities;
d) Keep the community informed of all significant redevelopment proposals in the area by involving as many as possible in the planning process, and encourage community led regeneration;
e) Link with other groups individuals who share similar aims and objectives, stimulate wider public interest in the area, maintain an overview of significant redevelopment, promote high standards of planning and architecture and secure the preservation, protection, development and improvement of buildings and features of historic or public interest.
f) Carry out research on local issues and do all other lawful activities as are appropriate to achieve the aims and objective of the Association.

In March 2000 Spitalfields Market Under Threat (SMUT) was formed. It was a coalition of individuals and groups which included: the Spitalfields Community Association, the Spitalfields Historic Buildings Trust, the Spitalfields Small Business Association, the Spitalfields Society; Christ Church Spitalfields, St Botolph's Church Aldgate, the East London Mosque.

It protested against the redevelopment of Spitalfields Market and was successful in its Judicial Review in December 2000 in having the July 2000 planning permission quashed in High Court because LBTH had failed to make clear the extent of the increase in office space from the 1997 outline permission. While ultimately the campaign(s) were not able to stop the redevelopment of Spitalfields Market, they did successfully delay the process and in the process made gains for the local community.
Protest movements
Spitalfields Market
Urban development
Access StatusOpen
AccessConditionsSome material within this collection has been closed under the current Data Protection legislation as the records concerned contain personal data. Please check specific items for details and refer any queries to the Heritage Officer (Archives).
RequestNO - This does not represent a physical document. Please click on the reference number and view list of records to find material available to order at file or item level.


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