Traders oppose New Spitalfields, Billingsgate and Smithfields markets’ move to Dagenham in City consultation

Barton and Hart's Roger Barton on his stall.

Barton and Hart's Roger Barton on his stall. - Credit: Archant

Market traders have opposed moving three historic wholesale markets to Dagenham Dock.

Traders at Smithfield Market. Picture: Isabel Infantes.

Traders at Smithfield Market. Picture: Isabel Infantes. - Credit: Archant

A City of London consultation showed they opposed both bringing Smithfield meat market, Billingsgate fish market and New Spitalfields fruit and veg market under one roof and the move further east. The site was designated "preferred" in April this year.

More than 60 per cent of traders were against moving into the same building. But the report on the responses noted the most common reason for opposing the consolidation was the move to Dagenham: more than four in five were against the relocation.

Traders questioned whether the A13 can take the extra traffic and worried about the site's distance from existing customers. Suggestions have been made to use the Thames to transport product, as well as rail links to help with transportation.

Some tenants also thought the new site wouldn't be large enough for what they need.

Catherine McGuinness, policy chair at the City of London Corporation, said: "While I am glad to see broad support for our plans to consolidate the City Corporation's wholesale markets, it is also clear from the consultation results that further engagement is needed on certain aspects of the proposals, particularly with regard to access and supply routes.

"We will take these on board as we move forward with plans to develop our preferred site, and continue to engage with the community and those affected by the proposals.

"Our number one priority is to maintain a top-quality market environment serving London and the South East."

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A City spokesman said it would now "follow up" the points raised in the consultation and is working on a timetable for the project's next steps.

When the City announced Dagenham as the preferred location in April, it said it hoped to bring legislation forward that would allow it to move the historic markets in November 2020. The wholesale meat market, Smithfields has seen trading for more than 800 years.

There were a total of 251 responses to the eight-week consultation. Unlike many of the traders, residents around the markets and the site in Dagenham were mostly supportive of the proposals.

Along with modern facilities, the plans include a food school to help boost talent with apprentices and food courses.