Since 2009 I have been honoured to serve on the markets committee of the City of London, in 2015 I became the Committee Deputy Chairman, and took the Chairmanship in May 2017. I moved to the role of Deputy Chairman in September 2020, and returned to ordinary member status in May 2021.
Smithfield market is the largest wholesale meat market in the UK, and is one of the three markets the committee oversees. Located within the Square Mile of the City of London it is housed in three listed buildings. It is a place packed with history – there has been a livestock market on the site for over 800 years – but today it has very modern state of the art facilities for the receiving, storing and despatching of meat and poultry.
I think it a wonderful and vibrant part of our City of London, with a great future. Close to the new Farringdon Cross Station the future for regeneration of the area looks great. However, there has been a lot of confused press coverage about the redevelopment of parts of Smithfield Market. Many people wrongly believe the market as under threat of replacement with offices, it isn't.
For clarification, the buildings that the Corporation of London want to be redeveloped are the former General Market and Annex buildings located at the western end of the site, between the Poultry Market building and Farringdon Street. These buildings have been unused for over 20 years! I consider it a great shame we have yet to find an opportunity to redevelop those disused buildings. I believe we must find an acceptable way to bring them back to use and complete the re-awakening of the area which has so much to offer, and it is great news that the Museum of London is looking to move to the site.
If the new consolidated market that I brought forward as an idea whilst Chairman is realised then the market may move to Dagenham releasing the entire site for new opportunities, and I suspect that means an enhanced culturtal offer.