Artist Tracey Emin has scrapped widely criticised plans to demolish a listed building in Spitalfields to create a home and studio space.
The decision has been praised by conservation groups, who were angered by her proposal to knock down a 1920s building on Bell Lane and replace it with a modern five-storey house linked to her existing studio in a converted Victorian warehouse.
Her planning application elicited 58 objections, with 11 submissions in favour of the project, and was rejected by Tower Hamlets council in the spring. She lodged an appeal and an inquiry was due to take place in February but she has now withdrawn it. The only way to pursue the redevelopment now would be for her to submit an entirely new application.
Emin, whose Turner prize installation My Bed featuring dirty sheets and used condoms sold for £2.54million last year, bought the former Tenter Ground weaving works in 2008.
Her proposals to demolish part of it angered conservation societies who called the plans “short-sighted”.
Emin argued it was important to build a home adjoining her studio for “consolidating her way of living and working into one entity which is capable of adapting to new practices over the whole lifetime of the artist, enabling any artist occupier to live and work there for the whole of their working career”.
Tower Hamlets planning officers said although the proposed building had architectural merit, it did not justify the loss of the existing building.
Save Britain’s Heritage , which had been planning to oppose the project at the planning inquiry, welcomed the decision to withdraw the appeal.
Henrietta Billings, director of Save Britain’s Heritage, said in a statement: “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.”
The group, which was supported by the Spitalfields Trust, the Twentieth Century Society and other campaign groups, said the building stood at a “pivotal position” in the conservation area.
Emin’s studio has been contacted for comment.
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