Plans submitted to bring the capital’s historic food markets to Barking & Dagenham

The City of London Corporation has today (3 June) submitted a landmark planning application to the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham (LBBD), which will create a new home for Billingsgate, New Spitalfields and Smithfield markets at Dagenham Dock (the former Barking Reach Power Station).

The move will create the country’s largest wholesale food destination across 42 acres of industrial land – forming a new 21st century food centre for London, the South East and the UK. Not only will the move to Dagenham Dock secure the future of the three historic markets, it will also provide an economic boost to Barking and Dagenham through food, by reviving an abandoned industrial site – bringing new jobs and businesses to the area.

Relocating the market to Dagenham Dock will bring a number of environmental benefits too, with the potential to use the nearby rail network and River Thames to transfer goods and produce. This pioneering approach to food logistics is being led by the City of London Corporation and will help to alleviate pressure on the A13 road.

The designs, which have been developed by architects Chetwoods, also presents an opportunity to help combat the effects of climate change. The new development will be built with sustainable materials and using the latest environmental technology, supporting the City Corporation’s commitment to sustainability

As well as providing market tenants with new modern facilities to help protect their futures and grow, the plans will deliver a new food school, which will aim to train tomorrow’s market traders, butchers, fishmongers and fruiterers.

The submission of an outline planning application is the latest milestone for the Markets Co-Location Programme, which was formally announced in 2018. LBBD will now assess the application, before its elected Planning Committee take a decision on whether to approve the plans later this year. If consent is granted, the City Corporation will be required to submit a series of detailed planning applications to the LBBD, with the target of opening the new markets by 2025/2026.

A comprehensive programme of engagement with local residents and businesses, market tenants, local authorities and others has been ongoing since the summer of 2019. The main phase of this public engagement revolved around a series of exhibitions held around the Dagenham Dock site in January and February 2020, with 70% of respondents supporting the move to bring all three markets together.

The submission also follows two years of detailed work by the City Corporation to identify the most suitable location for the new wholesale market, during which it explored several alternative options across London and the South East, and to bring forward the plans that have been submitted.

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chair at the City of London Corporation said:

“The submission of our outline planning application is another significant step in our journey to creating a new wholesale food market for the UK, London and the South East in Dagenham Dock.

“Relocating the historic Smithfield, New Spitalfields and Billingsgate markets will secure their futures, providing much-needed modern facilities and spaces for our tenants to grow, so they can continue to support London’s food economy for the next generation.

“We are excited that our markets colocation project comes at a time when the borough has ambitious plans for its development. Together, we can play an important role in driving the economic recovery.”

James Tumbridge, Chairman of the City Corporation’s Markets Committee, said:

“People across our markets are making an extraordinary effort to ensure Londoners can continue to get high-quality produce on to their plates.

“As we look beyond the current pandemic, it is so important to invest in the future and help recovery. These plans aim to provide an exciting new home for our markets at Dagenham Dock that will safeguard their long-term future, securing jobs.

“Importantly, a new food school will help to train tomorrow’s market traders by providing the skills required to develop the next generation of butchers, fishmongers, and fruiterers.”


About the City of London Corporation

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

About the City Corporation’s Markets Co-Location Programme

The Markets Co-Location Programme (MCP) has been developed by the City of London Corporation to bring together the three historic markets – Billingsgate (fish), New Spitalfields (fruit & veg) and Smithfield (meat) – to one single site.

The City Corporation’s number one priority is to maintain a top-quality market environment that continues to serve London and the south east, however each market is facing a series of pressing and complex challenges. The condition and quality of the buildings are below what is expected of a modern wholesale market. This – along with the many constraints of the buildings – means the ability for businesses to maintain high standards and grow is an ongoing concern.

Dagenham Dock has been chosen as the site to secure the long-term futures of the markets. It will help to reduce unsustainable levels of traffic congestion in central London, improve the capital’s air quality and free up the existing sites for new homes and the City Corporation’s Culture Mile ambitions.

For further information about the proposals and the Markets Co-Location Programme, please visit our new website: https://wholesalemarkets.co.uk/