Ambitious plans to move three historic London food markets to Dagenham were last night given the green light, despite four out of five traders being against the move.
Councillors approved The City of London of Corporation’s proposal to uproot Smithfield meat market, Billingsgate fish market and New Spitalfields fruit and flower markets to a vast new site by Dagenham Dock.
The Corporation said it is exploring plans to use the Thames to transport produce to and from the new markets.
Barking and Dagenham’s planning committee also heard that £1.75million would be earmarked to create a “hub” of independent restaurants in Barking Town Centre, which will be stocked with fresh produce straight from the wholesalers. However, traders and residents have raised concerns about traffic and the impact on local transport services in Dagenham.
However, council leader Darren Rodwell stated: “This is yet more great news for the borough. The move will bring jobs as well as new training opportunities as part of our plans to establish a food school locally.
“I am particularly pleased with the intention to use the River Thames to move freight to and from the markets.”
The Corporation paid around £100 million for the Dagenham Dock area in late 2018. The site, which will be the largest wholesale market in Britain, is due to open in 2027.
In preliminary consultation in 2019 four out of five traders said they were against being uprooted.
Planning documents submitted by the Corporation claim that “the current facilities and trading environments at the three markets are outdated and unsustainable," but traders and have voiced their concerns about traffic and the impact on local transport services in Dagenham.
Cllr Rodwell responded, saying: “The move of these iconic markets to our borough will bring in hundreds of millions to the local economy and more jobs and educational opportunities for local people including a new food school which will develop the master chefs of the future.”
Source: Evening Standard