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Historic London food markets could merge to make way for new homes

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 02/08/2018 Sophia Sleigh

Three of London’s most historic food markets could be merged onto a single site under plans revealed by the City of London today.

Billingsgate, Smithfield and New Spitalfields all face being moved to create a 100-acre wholesale venue.

The City Corporation’s markets committee has agreed “in principle” to consolidate the markets but the proposals would need Parliamentary approval.

The City said the plan has been developed in order to “to secure their continued operational success”.

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Plans: A vendor poses with his stock at Billingsgate Market

Property consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton has been appointed to undertake the search for a suitable new site.

Ali Candan who owns Billingsgate Café, known among traders for its scallop and bacon sandwiches, said said: “Lots of public come here. In a new market I’m not sure if they will like it or not.

“We don’t know if it will be good or bad. If we don’t get any public coming in – who will we serve? They have said we have to go. I don’t want to go for me it’s a risk.”

Billingsgate fish market first started on the bank of the Thames in the 16th century before moving out to Poplar in 1982.

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Keep smiling: Theresa May grins at a trip to Smithfield Market during a visit (Getty Images)

Spitalfields fruit and vegetable market was established by Charles 1 in 1638 and was moved close to Leyton, in the early 1990s and is now known New Spitalfields market.

Smithfield is London’s last remaining wholesale market that has operated from the same site for almost 1,000 years.

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The Museum of London is to make its planned £70 million move from the Barbican to Smithfield Market

The ancient meat market is located in a Grade II listed building in Farringdon by Victorian architect Sir Horace Jones who also designed Tower Bridge.

Its butchers supply meat game and poultry including to Michelin starred London restaurants.

Traders, customers and tenants will all be consulted on the proposal as well as lobby groups Historic England and the Victorian Society.

A spokeswoman for the Corporation said the new site would also have an apprenticeship school for fishmongers and butchers.

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