The Court of Common Council – the City Corporation’s principle decision-making body – voted on 17th November to deposit a private bill in parliament to relocate Billingsgate and Smithfield wholesale markets.
The City Corporation said that it was ready to spend nearly £1bn to regenerate 42 acres of industrial land in Dagenham into a wholesale food market, to replace both the Billingsgate fish market and the Smithfield meat market. Smithfield has been in Farringdon in the City for nearly 150 years; Billingsgate moved from the City to Canary Wharf in 1982.
The Corporation said that relocating Smithfield Market “offers the opportunity to reinvigorate an historic part of the Square Mile, preserving and opening up the listed buildings for the public to enjoy”.
If the plans proceed, the Smithfield site will become home to the new London Museum, while the land at Canary Wharf that will be unlocked by relocating Billingsgate could provide around 2,000 new homes, it said.
Chairman of the City Corporation’s policy and resources committee, Chris Hayward, said: “This is a major milestone in an ambitious programme with economic growth at its heart – something our country so clearly needs. Our investment in delivering modern, environmentally-sustainable wholesale markets in Barking and Dagenham will boost the economy across east London, supporting jobs, skills and training.
“The existing Smithfield Market site is at the heart of our vision for Destination City, where the new London Museum will showcase the capital’s rich culture and history to millions of visitors. Relocating our markets will help ease traffic and improve air quality in inner London, while unlocking land at Billingsgate for new housing.”
The City Corporation also hopes to relocate the third wholesale food market that it owns – New Spitalfields Market in Shoreditch – to Dagenham Dock alongside Billingsgate and Smithfield at a later date.
London’s wholesale markets, and many others across the country, are governed by legislation which means they can only be relocated with consent from Parliament. The deposit of a private bill by the City Corporation on 29 November will start this process.
The new market at Dagenham Dock is expected to open in 2027 or 2028.
Leader of the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham, Darren Rodwell, said: “I’m delighted we’ve reached this next milestone for the relocation of the world-famous wholesale markets to the borough. London is moving east, delivering huge opportunities, like this, for new jobs and hundreds of millions of pounds of investment into the local economy.”
Chetwoods for the City of London Corporation