Early designs showing plans for three of London’s historic food markets will be revealed next week.
In a bid to free up land for thousands of new homes, the City of London Corporation plans to consolidated Billingsgate, New Spitalfields and Smithfield markets to a site formally occupied by Barking Power Station.
The proposals will be revealed in a number of consultation events starting on 29 January.
Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “The proposed new home for London’s markets promises to bring a huge economic boost to the borough and our priority will be to make sure that local people have the skills and training to take advantage of the employment opportunities that will arise.
“So, it’s especially important that our residents and local businesses share their knowledge of the area and respond to the consultation to ensure that we can ensure the markets operate smoothly and flourish and grow in their new location.”
A planning application for the new markets is expected to be submitted to Barking and Dagenham council in the spring.
Billingsgate fish market first started on the banks of the Thames in the 16th century and moved to Poplar in 1982, while Spitalfields fruit and veg market was established by Charles 1 in 1638 and relocated to Leyton in the early 1990s.
Smithfield, in Farringdon, is London’s last remaining wholesale market that has operated from the same site for more than 800 years.
Last year a preliminary consultation showed 82% of traders were against relocating to the area near Dagenham Dock, with most worrying they will lose customers and the roads would be unable to cope with the extra traffic.
More than 250 organisations and individuals responded to the Corporation’s eight week consultation last summer. Most agreed with the proposal to consolidate the three historic markets and nearby residents were more enthusiastic about the businesses moving to Dagenham than traders.
Overall 61% of respondents said they supported the new location.
Proposals to use the Thames as a more environmentally friendly way to ship goods to and from the markets also received significant support.
Catherine McGuinness, policy chair at the City of London Corporation, said: “Our number one priority is to provide a top-quality market environment serving London and the South East – not just fit for today’s needs but also for tomorrow’s.
“The move to Dagenham Dock will enable our wholesale markets to flourish, providing more modern facilities and space for our tenants to grow so that they can continue to support London’s food economy.”
Consultation events are being held between 4.30pm and 7.30pm on 29 January at Thames View Community Hall, from 5pm on 30 January at Barking Learning Centre and 10am to 1pm on 1 February at St Peter’s RC Parish Hall.