Construction begins on Mercato Ilford following delayed start
- Credit: Archant
Mercato Ilford, which was originally set to open this summer, has started construction on its new sustainable community market.
The project is part of Ilford’s new cultural quarter, which has included the opening of Space artist studio and gallery in the town hall.
Mercato Ilford, which is next door to Malachi Place in Oakfield Road, will transform Ilford Town Hall’s car park into a sustainable covered food market for the community.
The council hopes it will contribute to a more inclusive day and night economy and provide access to natural and sustainable food.
Groundbreaking for the project took place in November 2019.
The original opening date was delayed due to the pandemic.
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The new opening date is not known and the Recorder is awaiting comment from operator Mercato Metropolitano (MM).
Once open – and assuming the pandemic is over – visitors and residents will be able to participate in food education and nutrition programmes and other entertainment and educational events.
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The market will include space for up to 30 stalls and generate jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for the area.
The market promises to be the first example in the UK of a circular-economy community food market, with a fully functional urban farm on the rooftop, which will produce herbs and vegetables for the restaurateurs and retailers within the market and beyond.
There will also be a digester, which will convert organic waste into energy and compost.
The Ilford market will be the third from MM, following the original in Elephant and Castle, and one in a Grade I-listed former church in Mayfair.
The project is a collaboration between MM, the council and the Mayor of London.
In 2018, the council helped secure a £1.8million grant from the London Economic Action Partnership and the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund, a £70m public fund dedicated to urban regeneration projects.
Council leader Jas Athwal said it was “fantastic news” that construction on the market has begun and it’s part of his commitment to “regenerating Ilford Town Centre and making it a destination in its own right once again.”