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When three become one: Iconic markets could unite at Dagenham site

PUBLISHED: 18:23 01 March 2019 | UPDATED: 18:38 01 March 2019

Billingsgate Fish Market is one of the three that could move to Dagenham. Picture: Joe Lord

Billingsgate Fish Market is one of the three that could move to Dagenham. Picture: Joe Lord

Archant

Three of London’s most iconic markets could find a new home in Dagenham.

The City of London Corporation is planning to stop Billingsgate, Smithfields and New Spitalfields markets from operating at their current locations and move them to a single site.

Four potential host boroughs have been identified - Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge, Newham and Waltham Forest - as well as a fifth option, Thurrock in Essex.

The City of London Corporation requires a “long-term” base for all three wholesale markets and is currently in the process of shortlisting potential sites ahead of a public consultation in the summer.

A Barking and Dagenham Council spokesman confirmed the borough had been in “active discussions” with the City of London Corporation for a number of months.

He said: “At the end of last year, the Corporation purchased a substantial site in Dagenham and they have been working with Be First, the council’s regeneration company, on options for re-providing the markets at this location just off the A13.

“In pursuing these discussions with the City of London Corporation, the council and Be First are aiming to secure substantial economic and social benefits from the potential relocation of the wholesale markets.

“In addition, we are exploring the option of developing a significant presence back on the River Roding, home of London’s original medieval fish market, as part of this relocation.”

With a predicted combined turnover of around £800m, the markets would naturally bring wider economic benefits to the borough, including direct financial contributions in the form of business rates which would see around £500,000 retained by the authority.

And it gets better in 2020 as the law regarding business rates is set to change, meaning that Barking and Dagenham could keep 75 per cent of the income.

A City of London Corporation spokesman said that moving the three markets would “secure their continued success and best possible future”.

He said: “As part of this programme we will be consulting with the market tenants, traders and their customers, and other key stakeholders to develop the operational requirements for a new market and take their views on the programme and potential sites, into account.

“Our number one priority is to maintain a top-quality market environment serving London.”

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