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People power helped stop London markets moving onto Fairlop Plain, group claims

PUBLISHED: 15:31 30 April 2019 | UPDATED: 10:18 01 May 2019

Workers stand outside Billingsgate Market in London in a demonstration against planned changes to the way the market is run.

Workers stand outside Billingsgate Market in London in a demonstration against planned changes to the way the market is run.

PA Archive/Press Association Images

A community group is pleased that three iconic markets are not coming to Redbridge and said the result was influenced by residents lobbying against the plans.

A resident campaigns against the markets coming to Redbridge. Photo: Ron JeffriesA resident campaigns against the markets coming to Redbridge. Photo: Ron Jeffries

In March, three Redbridge politicians announced plans to relocate Billingsgate, Smithfield's and New Spitalfields markets to Hainault Road, Little Heath. after the City of London Corporation said it wanted to transfer all three onto one site in the capital.

Council leader, Jas Athwal, MP for Ilford North, Wes Streeting and Conservative Assembly Member Keith Prince, joined forces and unveiled their ideas, saying the market would be great for the local economy.

Mr Prince subsequently walked back his support after meeting with residents at the site and hearing their concerns.

Chris Gannaway, of the Aldborough Hatch Defence Association (AHDA), set up a petition against the markets moving to Redbridge which amassed almost 3,000 signatures.

Following the news that the markets would be moving to a new home in Barking and Dagenham he said: “We welcome the decision and good sense shown by the Corporation of London not to shortlist Fairlop Plain as a site for the London Markets.

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“We are sure that this result was influenced by the lobbying of us and other residents.”

However, the group are concerned that the site could be a candidate for other projects.

“We are fearful that Fairlop Plain is still vulnerable to development – we will, therefore, continue to be vigilant,” he added.

“The petition will be handed in at the next full council meeting on May 21.”

Cllr Jas Athwal said the council is “disappointed” that Redbridge will not rehome the markets but passed his congratulations on to the winner.

“Barking and Dagenham will serve as a fantastic new home for the markets and I look forward to visiting them there,” he said.

“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 Redbridge people and businesses benefit from the investment this project brings to east London.

“Whilst we have been unsuccessful this time, no one should be in any doubt about the ambition of Redbridge and our unwavering commitment to attract major investment.”

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