Plans submitted to relocate three historic London food markets onto single brownfield site

The City of London Corporation has submitted a planning application to relocate three historic markets onto a 17 hectare brownfield site at Dagenham Dock and create what it claims would be the country's largest wholesale food market.

A visualisation of the completed Dagenham Dock scheme (pic: City fo London Corp)
A visualisation of the completed Dagenham Dock scheme (pic: City fo London Corp)

In a statement issued last week, the corporation said it has lodged an outline application with the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham to create a new home for the Billingsgate, New Spitalfields and Smithfield markets in the east London borough.

The proposals would see the part Grade II listed Smithfield meat market, the only one of the three to remain within central London, move from its existing location at Farringdon.

The Billingsgate fish and New Spitalfields fruit and vegetable markets would be shifted from their current locations in Poplar and Hackney respectively.

Under the plans, the three historic markets would be relocated onto the proposed site at Dagenham Dock, the former location of the Barking Reach power station.

The corporation said the move would secure the future of the three markets and bring new jobs and businesses to an industrial site, which has been abandoned since the power station closed in 2014.

The application seeks permission for the demolition of the remaining existing buildings on the site and development of a "consolidated" wholesale market, including market spaces, logistics, distribution, food preparation areas, storage and ancillary uses.

The plans are also due to deliver a new "food school", which would aim to train "tomorrow's market traders, butchers, fishmongers and fruiterers", the corporation said.

The new location at Dagenham Dock would enable the new market to use the nearby rail network and River Thames to transfer goods and produce, helping to alleviate pressure on the A13 road, the corporation said.

The corporation's Markets Co-Location Programme was formally announced in 2018 and the authority said it is aiming to open the new market by 2025/26.

Pat Hayes, managing director of Barking and Dagenham Council's Be First, said: “The plans to move the markets supports our aspiration to make Dagenham Dock a state of the art business park and build on the area’s impressive rail and port infrastructure to create a major growth hub for the Thames Estuary.”

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