Agenda item


The Superintendents to be heard.


The Committee received oral updates from each of the Market Superintendents as follows:


Billingsgate Market

·             Fire Risks – The Superintendent began by reporting that there had recently been a review of fire risk assessments and procedures at the Market which had, overall, shown that fire risks on the site were well managed and that sound practices were in place.


He informed Members that the site’s current system had been installed two years ago at a cost of approximately £175k and so was relatively new. He reported that the system was tested monthly with fire drills/evacuations also scheduled to take place every six months.


The Superintendent went on to state that the sprinkler system covering the markets buildings were also regularly tested. He added that the building was just two-storeys high with many escape routes.


Members were notified that some concerns around cladding/insulation used within the many containers situated on site had been raised and that the Superintendent was now awaiting recommendations on how this risk might be managed going forward.


·             Crossrail Construction Site – As previously reported as a matter arising from the minutes of the last Markets Committee meeting, the Superintendent reported that the land handed to Crossrail for the construction of a Canary Wharf station would be returned to the Market by the end of this month as planned following some remedial/repair works. He added that the Market and the Comptroller and City Solicitor were already in discussions with four existing tenants regarding the future use and development of this area of land.


Smithfield Market

·             Safety Management/Banksmen The Superintendent reported that a third audit had now taken place over four nights beginning on 9 July 2017. During the audit, no incidents of unguided backups had been witnessed. The Superintendent wished to place on record his thanks to the Chairman of the SMTA for his input into this work. He went on to report that a formal meeting to discuss the FTA Action Plan had taken place with the SMTA on 12 July and that banksmen training had also taken place at the end of June.


Letters regarding banksmen duties had now been circulated to all tenants and all freight transport companies accessing the site together with site maps and site rules. Members were informed that there would be an ongoing review of the Action Pan alongside the SMTA.


·             Facilities Management – The Superintendent reported that Skanska had now replaced MITIE in terms of facilities management at all three of the City’s wholesale markets. Skanska were currently carrying out an Asset Verification Programme and it was hoped that this would lead to greater transparency and improved service delivery going forward.


The Superintendent went on to report that all repairs and maintenance issues on site were now also being logged on the City Corporation’s central ‘MICAD’ system.


·              Fire Risk – The Superintendent reported that fire risks on site and associated procedures were regularly reviewed. Members were informed that two annual evacuations of the site took place. Fire Risk Assessments had also been discussed at the most recent quarterly Markets Health and Safety Review meeting.


The Smithfield Market Constabulary Team had also recently held a briefing for all fire marshalls on site so that practices and procedures were adequately filtered down.


·             Contractors – The Superintendent reported that it was felt that a better permit to work system was needed for contractors working on the Market. The Department was therefore looking to review the Corporation’s existing control of contractors policy with the City Surveyor to ensure stronger control over this going forward.


New Spitalfields Market

·             Site Access/Layout – The Superintendent was pleased to report that there had been no accidents on site since January 2017 following various improvements made. Officers were now beginning to look at issues on external roadways around the site in the hope of making further improvements. There were now plans to move the staff carpark to the end of the site in order to enable better control of HGVs on site and create pedestrian walkways across the whole site.


·             Entry Barrier – The Superintendent reported that, following delays and a lack of communication to date, this matter was still with Waltham Forest Planning Department to progress. Following requests made to the Mayor and Chief Executive of Waltham Forest, the Market had been assured that it was now hoped that a certificate of lawful use would be issued shortly, with a decision expected by the end of this week.


The Chief Executive and Leader of Waltham Forest were also due to visit the Market at the end of August 2017.


·             Fire Risk – The Superintendent reported that the site had a well established premises compliance and risk assessment system in place. Escape provisions were regularly reviewed and equipment such as fire extinguishers were visually checked and serviced at regular intervals too.


The Superintendent went on to report that the cafes on site had a separate scheme for inspection which also involved checks on ventilation systems and the like which were particular to them.


Any inspection failures were categorised as either critical or non-crictical with penalties served where appropriate. If a tenant was seen to have failed an inspection on three occasions, the Market sought to carry out the remedial works required ‘in-house’ and subsequently charged the tenant for this.


Members were informed that the London Fire Brigade’s recent inspection of the site had indicated that they were content that all potential fire risks on site were adequately covered. The Superintendent went on to report that there were composite panels used on the site but that these had been looked at in 2003 when the Market had been informed that they met the required regulations. In any case, the market Catering Supplies buildings were only two storeys high.


·             Head of Terms – In response to a question, the Superintendent confirmed that 143 tenants had now signed and returned these and that he could not see there being any ongoing problems due to the handful of tenants who had not. Some of the tenants yet to return heads of terms were now being guided through the process and those who were refusing to sign the documents would continue to be pursued with the matter being referred to the Courts if necessary.


·             Committee Visit – The Deputy Chairman wished to thank the Superintendent, the Tenants Association and market staff for the recent Committee visit to the site. He stated that he was disappointed to see such a small turnout from members of the Committee on the day and encouraged all to visit the City’s Wholesale Markets wherever possible.