The owners of New Spitalfields Market have chosen a site to house a new composite market alongside Smithfield and Billingsgate wholesale markets.

The Court of Common Council, the City of London Corporation’s main decision-making body opted for a spot at Barking Reach, in Dagenham, East London, to locate the planned mega-market.

The corporation said the site was acquired in December 2018, after members felt it offered potential for its wider market vision as well as being acceptable to traders.

Fears over congestion at the new site are high among traders, however, with Paul Walker, chairman of the New Spitalfields Market Tenants’ Association telling FPJ last month: “None of us our overly enamoured with the sites we’ve seen so far. We seem to be struggling with the amount of traffic going back into London, which would cause delays for our customers.”

The other sites considered by the City of London Corporation were Silvertown in Newham; Fairlop in Redbridge; and Thames Enterprise Park in Thurrock.

With the preferred spot agreed by the corporation, the next phase will see a public consultation process, slated to begin this summer. Parliamentary legislation will be required to approve any relocation.

The corporation said they would propose to bring forward a Private Bill in November 2020 to provide the statutory basis for the relocation of the market.

Following the corporation’s decision on Thursday, Catherine McGuinness, policy chair at the City of London Corporation, said: “The City's three world-leading wholesale food markets at Billingsgate, New Spitalfields and Smithfield have been serving our citizens for hundreds of years, and we are committed to their future for London.

“In order to secure their continued success,and after careful consideration of a number of options, Barking Reach has today been agreed as the preferred site for consolidating the City Corporation’s wholesale markets. We intend to use this new site to offer more modern facilities and space for traders to grow so that they can continue to support the capital’s food economy.

“We will soon be launching a public consultation on our preferred option. As part of this process, we will continue to engage with market tenants, traders and their customers, and other key stakeholders across London. Our number one priority is to maintain a top-quality market environment serving London.”

James Tumbridge, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Markets Committee, added: “The ambition to provide the right environment for the long-term success of our wholesale markets has taken another positive step forward. We continue to work toward a vision for a food centre suitable for London’s future, in terms of its scale and environmental impact. It’s an honour to help guide this key part of London’s infrastructure to feed our great city.”