John McAslan + Partners has been brought back into the contentious redevelopment of Smithfield Market after months of uncertainty about the central London project
The practice found itself in limbo in January (AJ online 08.01.10) after site developer Thornfield Ventures went into administration just weeks before it was set to submit plans for the historic plot.
Developer Hammerson initially looked at the viability of the site for administrator Deloitte before selling on the western end of the meat market, the annex block and nearby Caxton House to management house Henderson Global Investors in June.
The AJ understands that John McAslan has now been redrafted to the scheme and there are rumours former Thornfield Properties chief executive Mike Capocci is also back on board.
Clive Castle, project manager and head of Henderson’s central London offices, said: ‘It’s still very early days for us but we are proposing to retain McAslan because we think they are the right people for the job.’
The redevelopment of the site has been shrouded in controversy for nearly a decade. A previous proposal by KPF for Thornfield was ditched following defeat at public inquiry in August 2008.
KPF’s doomed Smithfield scheme
Although McAslan’s original proposals were never made public it is understood they involved suspending a three-to-four storey office block over the main market.
A spokesman for SAVE Britain’s Heritage, which saw a version of the McAslan scheme in October 2009, said: ‘We were pleased to see the retention and refurbishment of the perimeter buildings but we were unable to support the scheme at that stage because of the treatment of the main market block and the height and bulk of the proposed office building above this space.’
McAslan was unavailable for comment