Letter: Spitalfields site is a closed shop

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The Independent Online
Sir: Can Jonathan Glancey ( 9 May) really believe that Sir Norman Foster's proposed Liffe (London International Financial Futures Exchange) buildings - a "financial behemoth" on a Spitalfields site as large as the Royal Albert Hall - will conjure up the spirit of the old fruit and veg halls or that a "testosterone-driven" trading floor is a street market "in only slightly different dress"?

In fact the proposed development has far more in common with the "titanic" Broadgate development opposite Spitalfields and the colossal Amro Bank headquarters currently being erected on its flanks, than with the sprawling, messy, heterogeneous life of a market. A trading floor, even one with glass walls, is not an open public space (or will we all be allowed to wander in and bring the kids at weekends?) but a very specialist kind of closed shop.

Far from being bold and exciting, Sir Norman's proposals are predictably of a piece with the drive to annexe Spitalfields to the City. More bars and cafes, sandwich outlets and designer shops, not to mention 13 floors of a futures exchange, seem thrilling to Mr Glancey. Those who live and work here may well feel it's just more of the same.


London E1