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London's food markets forced to look for new home

London's famous markets Billingsgate (fish), Smithfield (meat and poultry) and New Spitalfields (fruit, vegetables and flowers) if they are to survive, need to find a new 100 acre site where they can be consolidated into one area, according to the City of London Corporation.

The architecture of Covent Garden featured in the photograph above points to the importance of established markets in London and in this particular area since the 1650's. Charles Fowler's classical building was erected in 1830 and then Floral Hall, Charter Market and in 1904 the Jubilee Market. 1960's traffic congestion forced the market out to Nine Elms in 1974.

As London evolves as a expanding capital for commerce, culture and tourism, so the pressure builds on markets to find new homes. Speaking to Future Cities Forum, the Corporation said the most important element is the continued success of the markets and for the traders who use them in terms of access and deliveries. This new combined market would be within the M25.

Lambert Smith Hampton has been appointed to undertake the search for a site which will also see the creation of an apprenticeship school for fishmongers and butchers,

The City Corporation has launched a major transformation programme to undertake the necessary feasibility studies, options appraisals and development of a business case.

External consultations will start shortly with programme proposals being explored with traders and their customers, the GLA and the London boroughs where the existing sites are located, where other sites might be suitable and other boroughs with relevant interests. Additionally, other interested parties such as Historic England, The Victorian Society and the Billingsgate Consultative Committee will also be included in discussions.

Parliamentary legislation will be required to agree any relocation and a Private Bill will be submitted to Parliament in due course.

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