Inquiry cancelled as Tracey Emin withdraws controversial demolition application

8 December 2016

SAVE welcomes Tracey Emin's withdrawal of controversial plans to demolish and replace a landmark building in Spitalfields which stands on a prominent corner of a conservation area. 

The London Borough of Tower Hamlets had refused permission earlier this year for the redevelopment of 66-68 Bell Lane, close to Spitalfields Market in East London but the well-known artist had appealed the decision, and a public inquiry was set to take place in February 2017.

SAVE, supported by the Spitalfields Trust, the Twentieth Century Society and others, was preparing to take part in the inquiry, but on Wednesday 7 December, Tracy Emin withdrew the appeal.

The building is a locally listed building of merit at a pivotal position in the conservation area next to Tenter Ground and the site of the former Fruit and Wool Exchange - currently being redeveloped.

It presents a cheerful and open aspect to two streets and has neat and well-articulated window bays on both street fronts, with expressive, though restrained architectural detailing. It was built in 1927 by the former Stepney Borough Council as a block of three flats, built to help address the area’s housing shortage.

Henrietta Billings, Director of SAVE Britain's Heritage says: "Great care was taken to design this delightful, modest building on Bell Lane to blend with the traditional scale of the narrow streets around it.  Just a few hundred metres away from the office towers of the City, the historic streets in this area buzz with life thanks to their human scale - in spite of intense development pressures. We are delighted that the building has been reprieved."