A HIGHLY controversial redevelopment of Greenwich Market will now go ahead after developers won their appeal.

The scheme will see the 1950s buildings developed and replaced with a new market, shops and a 100-room hotel.

Original plans by site owner Greenwich Hospital were unanimously turned down in August last year by a Greenwich Council planning board, amid claims it could ruin the iconic site’s character.

But Greenwich Hospital appealed the decision last year and submitted a revised version of its plans, including retaining and recovering the market roof.

It is the amendments which appear to have led to the council’s decision being overturned.

The inspector ruled that, though the original scheme would have been harmful to the area’s character and appearance, the amended scheme would not do so.

Due to next year's Olympic events in the area, no work is expected to begin on site until January 2013.

Greenwich Hospital director Martin Sands said: "This is a positive result for Greenwich Hospital and for the centre of Greenwich.

"The hospital believes that the approved scheme, which includes minor amendments, will maintain the character and atmosphere of the current market within a refurbished environment.

"Greenwich Hospital will continue working with Greenwich stakeholders, traders, retailers, Greenwich Council and all those involved in the future of Greenwich, to make the market and Greenwich a continuing success, particularly in the key pre Olympic period.”

Councillor Ray Walker, Chair of Greenwich Council’s Planning Board said: "It is regrettable that the new Secretary of State, apparently pledged to a greater degree of localism, has chosen to overturn the unanimous decision of the Council to reject the planning application for Greenwich Market.

"Localism is a word which seems to be increasingly deployed but carries very little actual meaning for the Government.

"This appeal gives the green light to a scheme totally out of keeping with the history and architecture of Greenwich Town Centre and which simply is not of a sufficiently high standard for a World Heritage Site.

"It is particularly unfortunate that the application will permit the Greenwich Hospital Estate to demolish the heart of Greenwich Town Centre just as we have shown off all its charms to the millions of visitors in 2012 and who, instead of being encouraged to return, will avoid the building site that the Greenwich Hospital Estate will turn the town into."