Proposals to redevelop Greenwich Market will "rip the heart ouf of Greenwich", a local councillor told an independent public inquiry into the market's fate today.
Cllr Maureen O'Mara (Labour, Greenwich West) said that the market is a "well loved part of London" and that it would be a "disgrace to allow it to be destroyed".
The councillor has served on the Greenwich Area Planning Committee since 1998 and was the Chair of the Borough Wide Planning Board between 2002. She explained that she had originally been involved in the Key Stakeholder Group that was discussing plans for the redevelopment but that she pulled out when she saw the scope of their plans.
She said that the Market owners, Greenwich Hospital, have never shown "any understanding or interest in the impact of their proposals on this sensitive location".
Cllr O'Mara ended her comments to the inquiry, which started on Tuesday and is now in its third day, by requesting that the Secretary of State for Local Government, who has the final say, reject the appeal.
The afternoon's session was mostly taken up by questioning of Greenwich Council's Chief Planning Officer, Fred Brown.
Mr Brown acknowledged that the Greenwich Market site "needs investment" and conceded that the development had the "potential" to bring benefits, such as additional employment, but said there was a "question mark" over whether the changes would benefit residents and traders.
He said that the proposed boutique hotel "would not fill a gap" as there were other high quality hotels in Greenwich, specifically citing the Devonport Hotel and the Novotel, and more hotels were already planned.
He was questioned by Greenwich Hospital's QC, Neil King, about the support for the scheme from local MP Nick Raynsford, the Greenwich Society, the University of Greenwich and ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites).
When asked about Nick Raynsford's support for the scheme, Mr Brown commented that "Mr Raynsford is not an architect, he's not an urban planner so is not qualified to make those judgements".
Mr King QC seized on that and asked Mr Brown if indeed he was a qualified architect or urban planner either.
"No", replied Mr Brown, although he did point out his experience of over twenty years in managing planning departments.
The inquiry continues on Friday and from Tuesday to Friday next week.