Designs for new home of London markets revealed


This is the first look at plans for the relocation of three of London’s historic food markets to east London.

The plans for the merger of new Smithfield, Billingsgate and New Spitalfields markets on to a site formerly occupied by Barking power station include harnessing solar power to help run them.

Early designs show each market will have its own entrance leading to an atrium, which will provide daylight to the market below and serve as “renewable energy generators” with hundreds of solar panels installed to help power the stalls.

A “green corridor” will link the site to nearby roads and the River Thames, which could be used as a more environmentally friendly way to ship goods to and from the markets.

The Corporation said each entrance at the new markets will “be unique and identify with the history and tradition associated with these markets”.

The plan is to also make the buildings achieve a high level of sustainability, achieving the BREEAM Excellent certification.

A spokesperson for the Corporation said: “The development will be built with sustainable materials, using the latest environmental technology. The plans will limit the upfront energy during construction and when operational.

“Our aim is to create a scheme that places the health and wellbeing of occupants and workers at its heart.”

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The City of London Corporation bought the 42 acres site near Dagenham Dock for an estimated £100m in 2018 and is moving the markets to free up land for thousands of new inner homes.

Plans have also been drawn up to convert Smithfield market into a new “entertainment” destination complete with a food hall and room for concerts and pop-up exhibitions.

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, with most worrying they will lose customers and the roads would be unable to cope with the extra traffic.

However, residents around the markets were more enthusiastic about the businesses relocation to Dagenham and overall 61% of respondents said they supported the new location.

The first plans go to consultation today and a planning application is expected to be submitted to Barking and Dagenham council in the Spring.

Council leader Darren Rodwell 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.

“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.“

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