LONDONâ€™S Smithfield meat market could relocate to Thurrock.
The former Coryton oil refinery site is on a shortlist of four locations for a vast, new mega-market which could also house Billingsgate fish market and New Spitalfields fruit and vegetable market.
The other three potential sites are at Barking power station in Dagenham, Silvertown near City airport in Docklands, and Fairlop in Redbridge. The City of London Corporation wants to amalgamate the three historic markets in a purpose-built facility to free up land for housing.
The Thurrock proposal from property company ISEC would see the markets move to the Thames Enterprise Park.
Stephen Lawrence, chief executive of Thames Enterprise Park, said it had made a proposal â€œin respect of the consolidation and relocation of the City of London markets â€¦ However, the City of Londonâ€™s process of site selection is at an early stage so we do not intend to comment any further at this point.â€
The competition to host the Â£800 million-a-year markets is likely to be closely contested as it would bring an economic boost including about Â£500,000 of business rate revenue for the winning local authority.
The corporation is expected to make a recommendation on its preferred option next month before starting a consultation with traders until the summer.
Smithfield is the only one of the three markets to remain at its original site in the heart of the City. There are records of a meat market dating back to at least 1174. Billingsgate moved from Lower Thames Street to Poplar in 1982, while Spitalfields relocated to Leyton in 1991.
Any move would require a private Bill to be to be passed by Parliament and the corporation is expected to submit the proposed legislation in the autumn.
James Tumbridge, Chairman of the City of London Corporationâ€™s Markets Committee, 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.
â€œIn order to secure their continued success and best possible future, following a strategic review, we are developing a programme for consolidating the City Corporationâ€™s wholesale markets onto one site. The aim is to offer more modern facilities and space for our traders to grow and support the food economy of London beyond our current offering.
â€œAs part of this programme we are consulting with the market tenants, traders and their customers, and other key stakeholders in London. We will have a public consultation in 2019 on our options to determine where our future markets will be located.â€