Campaigners celebrate as Tower Hamlets calls ‘time out’ on market

Tower Hamlets Town Hall. Photograph: Benjamin Mortimer

Calling time: a council planning committee blocked the plans. Photograph: Benjamin Mortimer

Tower Hamlets Council has thrown out proposals for a 500-seater foodie complex on Commercial Street, much to the delight of local campaigners.

Time Out Markets submitted a planning application to turn the site of an old, Victorian stables into 17 restaurants and four bars.

The council’s planning department backed the market, which Time Out argued would be an “extremely positive addition” to London.

But a Town Hall planning committee unanimously rejected the proposals on Wednesday after hearing from locals, who complained that such a large-scale venue would lead to more anti-social behaviour in the area.

Amenity group The Spitalfields Society was relieved to hear the decision for a location in “the very heart of the Spitalfields conservation area”.

A spokesman said: “Quite apart from the many technical deficiencies, councillors recognised that the economy and community of Spitalfields and Brick Lane needs something other than yet more bars and restaurants if the night time economy is to flourish and the diverse mix of residential and business uses is to survive.

“The Society applauds the Time Out Market concept but feels that it should be applied to an area of London that genuinely needs the regenerative benefits that it offers. The concept as applied to Spitalfields merely seeks to exploit an area that has already been very effectively regenerated by others.”

A spokesman for Time Out confirmed the company is on the lookout for new locations in London, adding: “We are disappointed that the Tower Hamlets Development Committee has rejected our planning application for a Time Out Market in Spitalfields, despite the recommendation of their planning department.

“We continue to believe that our unique format, which makes fine-dining and cultural experiences accessible for all, would be an extremely positive addition to London, providing further enjoyment, employment, an economic boost and opportunity.”

Update: this article was amended at 10.28 on Monday 15 May 2017 to add a comment from the Spitalfields Society.

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