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More than 1,500 people sign petition against Billingsgate, Smithfield's and New Spitalfields markets moving to Redbridge

PUBLISHED: 13:30 25 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:34 25 March 2019

A resident campaigns against the markets coming to Redbridge. Photo: Chris Gannaway,

A resident campaigns against the markets coming to Redbridge. Photo: Chris Gannaway,

Archant

More than 1,500 people have signed a petition against three iconic London markets coming to the borough.

Keith Prince met with residents at the site. Photo: Raymond SmallKeith Prince met with residents at the site. Photo: Raymond Small

Redbridge Council previously unveiled plans for Billingsgate, Smithfield’s and New Spitalfields to move to a site in Hainault Road, Little Heath, after the City of London Corporation announced it was looking for a new single location for its three wholesale operations.

The proposals were initially backed by MP for Ilford North Wes Streeting and London Assembly member for Redbridge and Havering Keith Prince but the latter has subsequently pulled out after “listening to residents” and reconsidering his support.

The petition creator, Chris Gannaway, said he is against the plans for several reasons, including environmental factors and traffic congestion.

“The 162 acres of development will effectively cut the greenbelt of Fairlop Plain in two leaving the areas ripe for future development in any future development plan review,” he wrote.

“The London Mayor has stated that London’s green belt is sacrosanct and should be protected.

“The area proposed is the middle section of a working farm cutting the farm in two which affects the future viability.”

Mr Gannaway also stated that the site is one of London’s largest Sites of Nature Conservation Importance (SINC) and if the market plans go ahead the space is likely to lose habitats for London brown hare and farmland birds.

“Transport to and from the site will have a major impact on the environment,” he said.

“Adding to the existing local congestion of the A12 and especially the junction of Hainault Road and Barley lane with the resulting pollution increase.”

So far 1,594 people have signed the petition.

Redbridge is not the only contender for the project and neighbouring borough Barking and Dagenham is said to be in the running for the acquisition.

Leader of the council, Councillor Jas Athwal said: “Having the three most iconic markets in the world in Redbridge can only bring good and we hope we are successful and we will try our best.”

Mr Streeting said bringing these “great markets to Redbridge could bring enormous benefits for our community”.

“I understand there is some opposition and I’m keen to understand their concerns,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to meeting with people and I’m grateful for their patience and their understanding that I’m somewhat swamped with a Brexit shaped elephant in the room.

“I hope to give this issue my detailed attention once the next week is out of the way.”

A City of London Corporation spokeswoman said the three markets are part of the very “fabric of London” and its number one priority is to maintain a top-quality market environment serving the capital.

“In order to secure their continued success and best possible future, following a strategic review, we are developing a programme for consolidating the City Corporation’s wholesale markets onto one site.

“As part of this programme we will be consulting with the market tenants, traders and their customers, and other key stakeholders to develop the operational requirements for a new market and take their views on the programme and potential sites, into account.

“We will evaluate a range of different options before a public consultation in 2019.”

To view the petition visit: you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/no-built-development-of-redbridge-green-belt

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