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Greenwich Market development protest

PUBLISHED: 16:43 25 August 2010 | UPDATED: 16:43 25 August 2010

Campaigners protest against redevelopment proposals to Greenwich Market

Campaigners protest against redevelopment proposals to Greenwich Market

Carmen Valino

Campaigners gathered to protest against redevelopment proposals to a renowned arts and crafts market at a world heritage site where a 100-room hotel is planned.

The protest took place on Sunday outside the college approach entrance to Greenwich Market and was led by Labour councillor for Greenwich West ward Maureen O’Mara.

Activists have been campaigning against plans which include building a boutique hotel, providing office space and replacing the market’s canopy with a part glass roof.

They claim the construction of the hotel which would see the market temporarily located to a different site would put traders out of business.

Councillor Maureen O’Mara said: “We oppose to the plans because we believe they are about the destruction of the market.

“It’s one of the reasons people come to Greenwich. It’s a jewel in London’s crown and we want to ensure that it remains so.”

The protest comes one year after Greenwich council rejected plans by market owners, Greenwich Hospital Estates, to build the hotel claiming the revamp was “out of keeping with character of the West Greenwich Conservation Area.”

The decision made last August will be appealed by Greenwich Hospital Estates (GHE) on Tuesday, September 7 starting a ten day public consultation.

If planning permission is granted, demolition will start in January 2013 and the market will be closed for two years.

Anxious trader, Les Grayson, 61, of Abbey Wood, who has been selling hand-made clocks, at the market since it was launched 25 years ago, said: “We wouldn’t survive two years. They said they would put us in the university grounds by the river but who would come there?”

He added: “We would have to go for at least two years and then they said we would be able to go back.”

Councillor O’Mara said: “GHE may put up rates for traders. We have no information about the level of rent they would have to pay.

“This is about the survival of the covered market.”

A spokesperson for Greenwich Hospital Estates said: “Greenwich Hospital has no intention whatsoever of closing the market.”

“If the appeal is successful, Greenwich Hospital proposes to start the regeneration work in January 2013 and complete it by Christmas 2014. During this period the market will move to Monument Gardens and then return to its present location with essentially the same footprint and character. Trading will be continuous.

“The hotel that features in our regeneration plans will be a welcome addition to the town centre and not a threat or competitor to the market, rather it should provide additional custom for our traders.”

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