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Fred Searle

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New Covent Garden wins best wholesale market

London wholesale market praised for support it gives traders despite ongoing conflict between market authority and tenants association

New Covent Garden wins best wholesale market

New Covent Garden Market

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New Covent Garden has been named the UK’s best wholesale market for the third time in ten years despite the controversy that continues to surround its ongoing redevelopment.

The judges at the Great British Market Awards in Birmingham praised the Covent Garden Market Authority (CGMA) for the support it gives traders and the market through partnerships, high-profile marketing, events and support for young people.

CGMA was also recognised for adapting to the changing needs of the food industry as the market undergoes a £200 million redevelopment.

The redevelopment has been widely criticised by the Covent Garden Tenants Association, however, with traders last year taking their fight against the market’s revamp to the High Court after failing to resolve their longstanding dispute with the market authorities.

Organised by National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA), The Great British Market Awards celebrate excellence in both wholesale and retail markets across the UK. 

The market’s collaboration with City Harvest has helped to reduce food waste and give back to the local community, while an initiative with Zipcar has given traders a cheaper way to hire vans and encourage footfall at the market.

Alastair Owen, head of communications and marketing for Covent Garden Market Authority, said: “We couldn’t be happier to have won the UK’s best wholesale market award and it is a real testament to the work we do to support the market’s businesses and to bring the wonderful experience of New Covent Garden Market to as many people as we can in imaginative and innovative ways. 

“We’ve reached key milestones in the last year, including the opening of the Food Exchange, where we now have some of the most exciting small food businesses in the UK coming together to create London’s greatest food hub. 

“As New Covent Garden Market goes through a period of change, it’s fantastic to be recognised for what we are and continue to be: a great wholesale market.” 

Chief Executive of NABMA Graham Wilson added: “This is a market with great historical significance, and which is remains intrinsic to catering in the capital and beyond. 

“Currently in a period of significant change, there’s a real need for updates and modernisation of the market to be treated with intelligence, insight and sensitivity – something which the Covent Garden Market Authority have done superbly. 

“The CGMA has ensured minimal tenant turnover and meaningful support to both traders and customers of the market. It has employed impressive activation of tactics from new partnerships with the likes of Zipcar and events such as the first ever Art Night installation held at the Flower Market, to a youth careers programme to bring fresh, young minds into the broader team.” 

The extensive redevelopment of market will deliver modern facilities for the 175 companies based on site and the 2,500 people they employ. 

As one of Nine Elms’ three icons alongside Battersea Power Station and the new American Embassy, the site is set to become a new Food Quarter for London.

The other winners at the awards were:

Best Large Indoor Market – St. George’s Market, Belfast

Best Small Indoor Market – Warrington Temporary Indoor Market

Best Large Outdoor Market – Norwich

Best Small Outdoor Market – Skipton

Best Community/Parish Market – North End Road Seasonal Markets, Fulham

Best Large Speciality Market – York St Nicholas Fair

Best Small Speciality Market – Market Harborough Food & Drink Festival 2018

Best Wholesale Market – New Covent Garden Market

Best Food Market – Darlington Market Food and Drink Festival 2018

Best Market Attraction – Bolton Food and Drink Festival

Britain’s Favourite Market – Bury Market

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