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A consultation period is underway regarding the proposed relocation of New Spitalfields, Smithfield and New Billingsgate wholesale markets to a composite market site.
The Corporation of London is landlord of the three sites that currently house London’s leading fresh produce & flowers, meat & poultry and fish wholesale markets.
The Corporation’s preferred option appears to be to move all three markets to a 42-acre site it recently acquired in Barking. The initial plan is for the former power station to house a two-storey temperature controlled wholesale market.
On completion of the purchase, in late December, James Tumbridge, Chairman of the Markets Committee at the City of London Corporation, said: “I’m delighted we have achieved this major site purchase as a part of our vision for London and our markets.
“We will now be discussing this site as one of our options with traders, tenants, London bodies and wider stakeholders.”
One of the other options is for the three markets to combine at the existing New Spitalfields market site, in Leyton, where any redevelopment would also most likely involve a multi-storey element, as a new site would need roughly 80% more capacity than is presently available. A temporary site would need to be built adjacent to the current site, in order that tenants could relocate while the current site is demolished and rebuilt.
A third multi-storey option would be at a location in Silvertown, near City Airport, while a fourth option, on greenbelt farmland in the borough of Redbridge, looks unlikely to be a runner due to environmental and residential considerations. A fifth and final option is Thames Enterprise park in Thurrock, another that looks less likely to be considered in the long term due to its location.
More information is available from the Corporation of London on request. As far as New Spitalfields Market is concerned, an initial consultation meeting has already taken place, during which tenants were given an opportunity to view a presentation by Tony Hourigan of the Corporation of London. In it, he outlined Barking and other options that are on the table for the market that would bring meat, fish and fresh produce traders under the same roof for the first time in living memory.
The questions that Tony would like to ask all tenants are the following:
• What are your initial thoughts on each of the shortlisted locations?
• Which locations would you consider appropriate to shortlist?
• What are your early thoughts on the initial designs?
• What are your thoughts on a multi-storey market?
• What are the key factors from your point of view?
The first aim is to announce a shortlist of options in April. Formal consultation based on that shortlist would then take place early this summer and should both of those phases run to schedule, forming a business case and gaining approvals would be the next stage, in the autumn. Parliamentary legislation will be required to approve any relocation. To relocate all three markets, a Private Bill would need to be submitted to Parliament, which the Corporation currently aims to achieve by November this year.
Paul Walker, Chairman of the Spitalfields Market Tenants Association said: “We will work through this process with our landlord, towards a relocation plan that benefits every tenant in our market, as well as our employees, suppliers and customers. While individual tenants will hold strong views on this matter, as a tenants’ association, we will take time to analyse and evaluate tenant opinion before we represent the community’s view. We recognise the preferred timeline of the Corporation of London, but I would stress that nothing will happen until the tenants of this market are in full agreement with the way forward.
“The tenants’ association urges all tenants to engage with the consultation process. Some will have been in the market when it last relocated, others will never have experienced this situation. Either way, this is a project that will shape the future of their businesses and this fantastic market, so the more detail they have, the better.”
Further consultation meetings will take place soon. Please get in touch with Jan Hutchinson at the Spitalfields Market Tenants Association with any enquiries.
Keep up to date here and through our facebook (@NewSpitalfields) and twitter (@fruitnveg_spits) feeds.