Covent Garden Modernisation Plan

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January 24, 2007

Late last year Covent Garden Market Authority (CGMA) announced a two year programme to replace its 30 year old infrastructure with fresh, modern facilities. The Market plays a vital role in London’s wholesale provision, with 250 companies specialising in fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers and catering services and employing 2,500 people. Centrally located in Wandsworth since 1974 on its 56 acre site, the Market now faces aging infrastructure and facilities. The changing nature of the tenants and a site layout which no longer meets current trading requirements makes the Market uneconomic to run in the long term without new investment. An initial consultation with the tenants started in October 2006 to gain an understanding of their future business requirements. Following this, redevelopment options will be investigated over the next two years. CGMA envisage starting from with a ‘blank sheet of paper’, with no preconceived ideas as to how the Market should look. They will then look at working with a development partner to release equity from the site in some way which can then be used in the Market’s redevelopment. Visiting the Market in September 2006, Jeff Rooker, UK Food and Farming Minister said: “The Government supports this consultation and is committed to securing the future of one of the UK’s leading wholesale markets. New Covent Garden Market supplies hundreds of restaurants with fresh, seasonal produce and has had a profound effect on the economic and social life of the area. We firmly support the Authority’s proposals for redevelopment, which will ensure the Market continues to play a crucial role in the UK’s food market.” Baroness Brenda Dean, Chairman of Covent Garden Market Authority said: “We are delighted to announce the start of this important consultation on the vision for a redeveloped Market, one which will meet the needs of the businesses of our tenants in the future. We have said the tenants have to be at the heart of what a new Market will look like and how it will operate and this consultation takes that commitment forward. This is a key step and one which we hope will help us provide a Market which will be an exceptional trading environment for our tenants and their customers.” Gary Marshall, Chairman of Covent Garden Tenants Association said: “The Tenants Association welcomes this first phase of consultation. Mistakes were made when the original Market was developed, but with a better understanding of the Market requirements this will not happen again. We intend to work closely with CGMA and Defra towards the long term future of a Market which offers security for us, the tenants, and will allow our businesses to grow and develop.” It is hoped that by designing a new Market in accordance with the current and future demands and needs of traders there will be a more efficient use of space than there is currently. There may also be the opportunity to let other occupiers use the space when the Market is not trading. Formal consultation with the tenants of the Market started in October 2006 with the results due to be fed back to all tenants and stakeholders in early 2007. NCGM is UK’s leading horticultural wholesale market with an annual turnover of some £500 million. Split between the different trading areas this is: • £153 million fruit & vegetable wholesale • £125 million catering distribution • £ 64 million flower wholesale • £ 56 million other food activity • £102 million (estimated) importer, agents and other services It is a world famous fruit & vegetable wholesale market selling over 160 different types of fruit and over 180 different varieties of vegetables. On average there are over 4,500 vehicle visits daily, rising to over 7,000 in peak times. About Covent Garden Market Authority (CGMA) CGMA is a statutory corporation responsible for running New Covent Garden Market and made a £1.4 million pre-tax surplus for the year ended 31st March 2005. For further information about New Covent Garden Market please contact: Helen Evans, Covent Garden Market Authority +44 20 501 3487 Jonny Popper / Suzi Lawrence, London Communications Agency +44 20 7479 2830 Liz Grundy, Defra Press Office +44 20 7238 6001