Billingsgate, Smithfield's and New Spitalfields markets will not come to Redbridge
PUBLISHED: 17:04 25 April 2019 | UPDATED: 17:30 25 April 2019
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Billingsgate, New Spitalfields, and Smithfields will move to a 42-acre site in Barking Reach, it has been revealed today, Thursday, April 25 by City of London Corporation (CLC), which manages the markets.
The news will be welcomed by campaigners in Redbridge who feared the markets could come to a site in Hainault Road, Little Heath. More than 1,500 people signed a petition against moving the markets to the borough.
Redbridge Council had hoped to provide a new home for the markets at a 162-acre site. If successful the bid could have brought in £500,000 in business rates per year for the authority and more than 3,500 jobs could have been created in the borough, with 200 new small and medium businesses coming to the area
Catherine McGuinness, policy chairwoman at CLC, said today: “The City's three world-leading wholesale food markets at Billingsgate, New Spitalfields and Smithfield have been serving our citizens for hundreds of years, and we are committed to their future for London.
“In order to secure their continued success, and after careful consideration of a number of options, Barking Reach has today been agreed as the preferred site for consolidating the City Corporation's wholesale markets.
“We intend to use this new site to offer more modern facilities and space for traders to grow so that they can continue to support the capital's food economy.
“We will soon be launching a public consultation on our preferred option. As part of this process, we will continue to engage with market tenants, traders and their customers, and other key stakeholders across London.
“Our number one priority is to maintain a top-quality market environment serving London.”
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Redbridge Council leader Cllr Jas Athwal and Ilford North MP Wes Streeting were among those who supported the idea of bringing the markets to Redbridge.
But campaigners said it would cut the green belt of Fairlop Plain in two and would open the way for more developments in that area. They also feared the impact on the A12.
Today Cllr Athwal said: “Although we are disappointed by this news after putting forward an ambitious and detailed plan, we are pleased the future of these iconic markets is secure.
“Our neighbouring borough Barking and Dagenham will serve as a fantastic new home for the markets and I look forward to visiting them there.
“The relocation presents a unique opportunity for our part of the capital and we will continue to work with the Corporation of London so that where possible local Redbridge people and businesses benefit from the investment this project brings to East London.
“Whilst we have been unsuccessful this time, noone should be in any doubt about the ambition of Redbridge and our unwavering commitment to attract major investment.
“I'd like to thank everyone who was involved in developing our proposals including the residents who attended the drop-in sessions and whose feedbacak was invaluable in helping us shape a strong, credible proposal.
“Today, we pass on our congratulations to Barking and Dagenham and continue our collecitve efforts to deliver a better future for all our residents.”
With a predicted combined turnover of around £800million, the markets would naturally bring wider economic benefits to the borough, including direct financial contributions in the form of business rates which would see around £500,000 retained by the authority.