The relocation of two of London’s historic wholesale food markets to a new site in Dagenham has moved a step nearer with their owners, the City of London Corporation, depositing a private bill in Parliament to facilitate the move, which is expected to be completed by 2027 or 2028.
Plans to move Billingsgate fish market and Smithfield meat market, along with New Spitalfields fruit and vegetable market, to a purpose-built, consolidated site at Dagenham Dock were proposed by the City’s Court of Common Council – its principal decision-making body – in early 2019 after it bought around 40 acres of land there with that purpose in mind the previous December.
Barking & Dagenham Council launched a consultation of residents about the plans in January 2020, which its leader Darren Rodwell said promised to “bring a huge economic boost to the borough”. Outline plans were submitted to the council in June 2020 and consented the following March. The City says the markets will bring an estimated 2,700 jobs to the area.
It remains the City’s intention that New Spitalfields will follow the other two markets, though this has now been postponed until an undecided future date. The private bill, when enacted, will equip the City with specific powers to bring about about the Smithfield and Billingsgate moves. the move. The decision to advance the bill was taken earlier this month.
The Smithfield relocation will also enable plans for a new home in West Smithfield for the Museum of London – to be renamed the London Museum – to proceed and advance the City Corporation’s “Destination City” vision, making it more of a visitor attraction.
Hailing the museum’s move, policy chairman Chris Hayward said it will “showcase the capital’s rich culture and history to millions of visitors”. The Corporation, which is major funder of the museum, approved revised plans for its new home last week.
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