Last week marked the start of a new chapter at New Covent Garden Market (NCGM), with Covent Garden Market Authority (CGMA) and Covent Garden Tenants Association (CGTA) reaching a final agreement about the redevelopment of London’s leading wholesale horticultural market.
Work to redevelop the UK’s largest fresh produce wholesale market will now continue at pace having suffered from delays since the original redevelopment plan was unveiled in 2018.
Following a public consultation earlier this year, a set of proposed amends to the redevelopment have been accepted by the market’s tenants. CGTA is now in agreement that the plans to update the market will secure its future in London and provide tenants with the best possible facilities to continue serving customers across the UK.
David Frankish, CGMA executive chairman, said: “I am pleased to announce that the final stage of an agreement to settle the litigation relating to the redevelopment of the market is now complete.
“This marks the end of a long process and I am extremely grateful to everyone from CGMA, the CGTA and all tenants for their dedication, personal commitment and hard work which delivered this settlement.
“This is a very positive moment in the history of New Covent Garden. I believe that together we are focused on redeveloping and securing the best environment for the future of all those involved at the market. We are very mindful of our long standing and proud heritage and I am confident that the achievement of a final settlement will help us maintain our position as a world leading 21st century horticultural market, based in Nine Elms, London.”
Gary Marshall, CGTA chairman, commented: “I am delighted that we have come to a satisfactory conclusion which means that traders can now focus on the most important matters in hand: their businesses.
"It's been a very difficult road and has involved massive commitment from myself and my deputy and my executive at CGTA. The agreed changes will enable us to have what we always wanted - a sustainable market that is fit for purpose.
"At these very challenging times of coronavirus, it is a light at the end of a very long tunnel.
“I would like to personally thank the team at CGMA, the CGTA executive, the tenant community and all those who helped us achieve this landmark accord and we’re now looking forward to a bright future, with confidence that we can steer the market through the current challenging business environment.”
Among the agreed changes to the market redesign are larger vehicle loading areas and wider access for buyers.
"The agreed changes to the buildings and logistics will make the market work better," Marshall told FPJ. "And, maybe the most fundamental point of all, we have now negotiated 15-year leases that will be protected by the '54 Act'."
This fnal agreement comes after years of, at times, bitter disagreement between the CGTA and the CGMA over designs for the market's redevelopment, construction of which is already 25 per cent complete.
The market traders led by the CGTA insisted the original designs put the operational effectiveness of the market at serious risk, with a lack of traffic and trading space.
In October 2018, the CGTA started legal action against the market authorities over a break of contract relating to the suitability of the new market design.
Then in July this year, the CGMA launched a public consultation for market users and stakeholders on proposed changes, which resulted in an agreement in principle on changes to the controversial market design.
A final agreement was reached by the two parties at the end of last week.