Agenda item

Future of the Markets Committee

Report of the Town Clerk (copy attached).


A report of the Town Clerk, which Members had requested, on the options which could be explored with regard to the future of the Markets Committee was considered. The report outlined that the options Members could recommend to the Policy & Resources Committee included:

Ø  Retaining the Markets Committee in its current form with the possibility of it becoming a Non – Ward Committee; or

Ø  Exploring the possibility of disbanding the Markets Committee and for the relevant functions to be transferred to other Committees, such as the Port Health & Environmental Services Committee and the Property Investment Board.

A lengthy debate took place and reference was made to the following points:

The Markets Committee had created good working relationships with the relevant authorities, traders and other stakeholders and any change to the status of the Committee could have reputational risks.

Members discussed the possibility of a Non-Ward Markets Committee, with a smaller membership, meeting four times per annum with the possibility of taking back responsibility for Leadenhall Market. A Member pointed out that if Leadenhall Market came under the remit of this Committee the relationship between the tenants and the City Corporation could be improved.


Some Members highlighted that Leadenhall Market is an investment property, as a retail emporium, similar to One New Change, and was therefore not in the same category as the three Wholesale Markets.


A number of City Corporation Committees which had previously been amalgamated had resulted in an increased workload for other Committees. For example, the Port Health & Environmental Services Committee and the Community & Children’s Services Committee had a wide remit and if elements of the Markets Committee were transferred to such Committees the workload for those Committees would substantially increase.


If the Markets Committee changed its status from a Ward Committee to a Non-Ward Committee there may be instances whereby some Members in bigger wards would not be able to serve on a City Corporation Committee.


A discussion took place on the Reference Sub Committee which had not met to date, and it was highlighted that the Sub Committee had been created in the event that if required it could be called upon, in between meetings, as a contingency measure to look at specific issues.


Members discussed the possibility of a composite, combined Market which could be explored in the future.


A further option such as retaining the Committee as a Ward Committee but to reduce the number of meetings from six to four was suggested. It was noted that meetings could be cancelled if there was insufficient business.


It was noted that there were issues which still needed to be managed at each of the Markets which included the implementation of the leases at Smithfield Market, the impact on businesses of the porters issue at Billingsgate Market and the lease renewals at New Spitalfields Market. There was therefore sufficient business for the Markets Committee to look at in the future.

In response to a question on the delegated powers which the Director of Markets & Consumer Protection had, it was noted that these included Delegations from other Committees, such as Finance, PHES, Licensing, and Establishment.


The Deputy Chairman read out an email on behalf of a Member who could not be present which suggested that a further option which could be explored included reverting to the model of three separate Market Committees for each of the Markets with the abolition of the Markets Department and restoration of a small dedicated management unit for each of the Markets.


The Deputy Chairman highlighted that there would be no cost savings in reducing the number of meetings from six to four per annum or in becoming a Non-Ward Committee.


Members were generally in support of retaining the Markets Committee and not for its functions to be transferred to other Committees. A vote took place on whether to retain the Committee as either a Ward or Non-Ward Committee. The result of the vote was as follows:-


In favour of a Ward Committee: 17


In favour of a Non-Ward Committee: 6




a)   the Markets Committee be retained as a Ward Committee and;


b)   The number of meetings per annum be arranged in consultation with the Chairman, Deputy Chairman and the Director of Markets & Consumer Protection, in order for them to aligned with the anticipated work programme for the year.


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