Smithfield and Billingsgate markets to relocate from central London to Dagenham

Billingsgate and Smithfield markets will relocate to a purpose-built site at Dagenham Dock in east London as part of a £1bn regeneration project.

Two of London’s oldest markets are being relocated from the city centre to east of the capital following plans approved by the City of London Corporation.

Billingsgate and Smithfield markets will relocate to a purpose-built site at Dagenham Dock in east London as part of a £1bn regeneration project.

A private bill will now be sent to parliament to confirm the City’s decision.

Dating back to the 10th century Smithfield meat market is one of London’s oldest markets

In 2019, the City approved plans to relocate three historic wholesale food markets, Smithfield Market, Billingsgate Market and New Spitalfields Market — at the new site in Dagenham.

However plans have changed and New Spitalfields, which sells fruit, vegetables and flowers, will remain in Leyton for the time being, where it’s been since 1991.

The City said it plans to move New Spitalfields to Dagenham eventually.

The move had been met with a lot of opposition from Smithfield meat traders, but they’ve now accepted the deal to move to Dagenham.

The closure of Smithfield as a market ends over 800 years of history of trading meat at the site.

Billingsgate fish market moved to its current Docklands location in 1982

Billingsgate fish market, meanwhile, moved to its current Docklands location in 1982.

The new market is expected to bring 2,700 new jobs to the borough of Barking and Dagenham, an increase from the 1,140 workforce currently employed across both markets and support 7,850 jobs across the UK.

Once the markets have moved, Smithfield Market has been earmarked to be converted into a cultural hub to sit next to the relocated London Museum.

The land at Canary Wharf that will be unlocked by relocating Billingsgate could provide around 2,000 new homes and other social infrastructure.

The new market at Dagenham Dock is expected to open between 2027-2028.

Leader of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, Cllr Darren Rodwell, said:  “I’m delighted we’ve reached this next milestone for the relocation of the world-famous wholesale markets to the borough.

“London is moving east, delivering huge opportunities, like this, for new jobs and hundreds of millions of pounds of investment into the local economy.

"I’m excited by plans we are working on with stakeholders for a new Good Food Economy Partnership to unlock the full opportunities from the food sector for local residents and businesses.

“This includes a pipeline for local talent with tailored training opportunities, apprenticeships and new business start-up opportunities alongside an improved and healthy food offer."