Demo against demolition of Spitalfields Market

The Land Is Ours office at
Tue Sep 4 10:23:46 BST 2001

4 September 2001

Press Release from 'Spitalfields Market Under Threat' (SMUT)


Demo outside the Bank of England on 6th September (1pm)

If detailed planning permission is granted to the Corporation of London and 
its developer, in October 2001, partial demolition of Spitalfields Market 
will begin immediately.

Let the Corporation of London hear your voice and join Spitalfields Market 
Under Threat (SMUT) outside the Bank of England (opposite the main 
entrance, in front of the Corn Exchange on Threadneedle Street. Nearest 
tube: Bank) on Thursday 6 September at 1pm, in a colourful demonstration to 
protest against the demolition and redevelopment of Spitalfields Market in 
London's East End.

The protest has been planned to coincide with a conference entitled, 
'Connecting Finance with Communities' which aims to examine the role of the 
financial services sector and business in building strong neighbourhoods on 
the city fringe.  Judith Mayhew, Chair of the Corporation of London is due 
to speak at the conference on the City's regeneration programme for the 
East End.

Members of SMUT are angry that the City Corporation is seeking to impose a 
singular, invasive and one-sided version of corporate-led regeneration onto 
the Spitalfields community, which already possesses a very strong 
neighbourhood and that their plans for regeneration involve demolition of 
the market.

Jill Cove, Chair of the Spitalfields Community Association, and veteran 
campaigner for SMUT, said: "It's outrageous that the City has the audacity 
to hold a conference and claims to be linking financial bodies to local 
community groups when the tickets are priced around £200-£400 per person. 
How many community members are they hoping to attract at that price? The 
conference claims to be stimulating debate about a helpful economic 
regeneration of the East End, but the list of speakers attending from 
leading financial institutions, completely excludes representatives from 
community groups. We have clearly not been invited".

One of the professed aims of the conference is to consider how the City can 
work to build sustainable community-based business initiatives on the city 
fringe. However, SMUT maintains that the City has deliberately chosen to 
contradict the aims of its own regeneration programme by alienating local 
communities from the consultation process and by ignoring the contribution 
made by Spitalfields Market to the local area.

The starting point of the City's regeneration programme is to expand into 
Tower Hamlets, knocking down two-thirds of the market in the process.  As 
the market constitutes a valuable community asset, campaigners are outraged 
that the Corporation plans to destroy a site which has already regenerated 
itself and which works in terms of sustainable small businesses.

SMUT contests the City's right to privatise valuable public space, in the 
face of massive public opposition. The petition has been endorsed by over 
25,000 signatures and the campaign is currently supported by a diverse and 
growing network of celebrities, politicians, architects, artists, business 
figures, political groups, NGOs and protest groups including Sir Terence 
Conran, The Prince's Trust, Lord Snowdon, Simon Hughes MP, William Alsop, 
Richard MacCormac, Terry Farrell, Tracey Emin, Gilbert and George, the 
Green Party, Globalise Resistance, The Land is Ours and Friends of the Earth.

Darren Johnson, GLA Green Party member, supports SMUT's campaign for 
sustainable redevelopment of the market.  In a recent letter to the 
campaign, he wrote, "Spitalfields Market is a unique area of social, 
economic and cultural vitality that is all too rare now in central London, 
especially in Tower Hamlets, where corporate and financial interests 
already dominate the interests of the residential community. The 
market  buildings themselves are of significant architectural interest and 
add greatly to the wealth of the local community. I am very keen that 
regeneration in London should not be promoted at the expense of local 

•For more information, interviews or comment, journalists should call the 
SMUT press office on: 07799 622 141 or 079568 72694

•For more information about the Connecting Finance with Communities 
conference see the website:

•Background information about the campaign and an online petition can be 
found at:

•General campaign information can be obtained from the SMUT general office: 
020 7 613 5897 or by email: smut at

The Land Is Ours
... A Landrights Movement for All

The Land Is Ours campaigns peacefully for access to the land, its resources 
and the decision making processes affecting them, for everyone - 
irrespecitive of race, age, or gender.

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