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Time Out scraps plans for food market in Spitalfields

A Time Out Market sign in New York (PA Archive)
A Time Out Market sign in New York (PA Archive)

The Time Out Group has scrapped its plans to launch a London Time Out Market in Spitalfields, following a six-year-long dispute over planning permission.

The media business - which operates markets in Lisbon, Miami, New York, Boston, Chicago, Montreal and Dubai - had planned to create a venue with 12 permanent kitchens on Commercial Street in Spitalfields.

Time Out first applied for planning permission for the new market - which would include “food from some of the city’s best local, homegrown talent – curated by Time Out editors” - in 2017.

Planning was initially rejected by Tower Hamlets Borough Council. Due to the site’s location in a “Cumulative Impact Zone”, planning applications considered the combined impact of the Time Out market and other venues in the area, such as the adjacent Spitalfields market.

Time Out appealed the decision, but its appeal was denied.

The media group then presented new plans to the council last year. However, despite the plans being recommended for planning approval, the council deferred its decision on whether to grant permission until this year.

That deferral, Time Out said, played a major role in its decision to withdraw its plans.

“Time Out Group confirms that it no longer intends to proceed with the development of Time Out Market at 106 Commercial Street,” the business said. “This is disappointing as we were looking forward to bringing our food and cultural market with its positive contribution – including new jobs, opportunities for local talent and benefits to the local economy – to this London borough.

“It is regrettable that, although recommended for approval by planning officers, the Tower Hamlets Development Committee chose to defer its decision on our application in 2022 after a process which has already taken several years and during which we addressed all prior concerns.

“With an expectation of the process being drawn out by further delays we have decided to no longer proceed with our application but focus our resources on other opportunities. We are grateful to everyone who has supported us throughout this process, in particular the landlord, Truman Brewery.”

The site of the market - a disused office building - was granted Grade II listed status in 2020.

Time Out had also intended to create a market in Waterloo, but pulled those plans “due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic”.

However, the media company said it is still committed to opening a market in London.

“We remain focused on our strategy of signing management mgreements to open Time Out Markets in both the UK and globally.

“We are excited about the success of our seven existing Markets and the eight new locations in the pipeline in cities such as Barcelona, Cape Town, and Vancouver – we are looking forward to opening here and in other cities which embrace having a Time Out Market as an addition to their city’s culinary and cultural offerings.”