Agenda item

Markets Superintendent Updates

The Market Superintendents for Billingsgate, New Spitalfields, and Smithfields Markets, to be heard.


The Committee heard oral reports from the Market Superintendents as set out below.


New Spitalfields

  • Deliveries -There is currently approximately a 24 hour delay in the delivery of produce to the market which featured in an Evening Standard news article on 4th January 2021.  Larger traders were purchasing multiple pallets for resale to smaller businesses


  • Covid-19 - A few traders had tested positive for Covid-19 and this was being monitored closely.  Face coverings were required indoors and posters were displayed and flyers circulated to remind traders and visitors of this requirement.  Scope for issuing fines/introducing new bylaws for non-compliance were being explored and advice was being sought from the Comptroller, CoL Police and Public Health to see what powers were available.  The Deputy Chairman requested that this be pursued after the meeting to ensure full compliance with Public Health Guidance and Covid-19 regulations.


  • Refrigerated mortuary containers – These containers had now been moved but stretchers and body bags were still being stored onsite.


  • Entrance barrier – without prejudice meetings with the supplier took place on 2nd Dec 2020 and 5th Jan 2021 and a follow up offer of compensation from the supplier was imminent (an earlier offer was refused)


  • A fire safety audit had scored 91% for fire safety compliance



  • Christmas – trade had been fair to good and a Covid-19 queuing system had been used to control the maximum allowable number of 50 people at any one time in Buyers Walks from the 13th December.  A peak of 6,300 public visitors was reached on 21 December 2020 and the Market welcomed just over 30,000 visitors in the 10 days prior to Christmas. There was a 20% decline in vehicles using the car park compared to the same Christmas period in 2019, but since Christmas trade was only reaching 40% of normal levels.


  • Covid-19 – there had been a small increase in the number of CoL and trader staff cases and this was being closely monitored with CoL staff tested fortnightly.  Risk assessments were also under constant review.


  • Brexit – there had been no noticeable impact on market operations but trade was noticeably quieter during the current lockdown.


·         Glass canopy – further repairs were due to start on 21st January 2021 whilst maintaining access and egress for deliveries, customers and contractor servicing.  It was expected that this phase of works would be completed by the end of February 2021. (East Poultry Avenue had reopened on 30th November 2020). Funding for the glass works to the south west elevation was estimated at c£75,000 and would be met from the cyclical works budget through the City Surveyor.



·         Tenants Meeting – a meeting was planned for the following week to discuss Heads of Terms and an action plan of projects/schemes of work for prioritisation during the remaining time at the current site.


·         Christmas trading – This went without incident despite reduced traffic management support from the Metropolitan Police. Trade buyers were allowed access to the market two hours earlier than normal, in part to manage traffic congestion and social distancing on the market. Trading continued for many tenants much longer than usual during in the fortnight before Christmas, due to restricted access to the public.


·         Covid-19 – in response to a request from the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, there had been an increase in use of the site for mobile testing.  Face coverings were required in all communal indoor spaces and this was being monitored in consultation with Environmental Health and Public Health Officials.


The Chairman emphasised the need for consistency across all markets in following the Covid-19 Regulations and Public Health Guidance and in response, Officers stated that written advice/guidance had been provided to traders in respect of Covid-19 and also EU imports.




That that the oral updates be noted.