John Lelliott, Interim Chair of Covent Garden Market Authority (CGMA), the landlord and management company at New Covent Garden Market (NCGM), says the redeveloped New Covent Garden Market and its tenants will be perfectly positioned to help London thrive for decades to come
At NCGM, we are less than four years away from successfully completing the most comprehensive redevelopment programmes ever undertaken by a UK wholesale market. With Vinci St Modwen, our development partner, by early 2027 CGMA will have rebuilt the country’s largest wholesale market in its pre-existing location, while enabling traders to continue to function as normal, which is no mean feat.
The ‘new’ market will have a smaller overall footprint, but offer our tenants more trading area. It will retain its traditional strengths, but have a far more varied mix of tenants, all operating from state-of-the-art facilities. Perhaps most important in terms of future potential though, the market will still be in the district of Nine Elms, just a couple of miles from the centre of London, our capital and one of the world’s truly global cities.
Our unrivalled and unmatchable location gives the market, its tenants and their customers a huge advantage when it comes to serving the huge London population (not to mention the millions of domestic and international tourists who travel here each year) with fruit, vegetables and flowers.
The market is easily accessible from anywhere in the South East of England during its core trading hours (during the night and early morning) so those who both distribute in or out of the site, and anyone who comes to buy from our tenants, can do so with minimum fuss and maximum efficiency. Talking of efficiency, our ESG credentials are there for all to see – we’re ‘local’ to London, we’re zero to landfill, we boast sustainable supply chains and increasingly operate out of state-of-the-art facilities, designed to deliver huge operational, energy and environmental efficiencies. Electric vehicles will slot nicely into our site when the technology catches up with the ambition. This market will be in a position to lead the industry well into the future.
New Covent Garden Market is nothing without its wonderful tenants, of course. CGMA exists to work with, and for, our tenants to support their businesses and the ongoing success of the Market. During the last few turbulent years, we have supported them however and whenever we possibly could. It’s our job to create a platform for tenant businesses to compete, both internally and externally and they continually show their ability to adapt and evolve to the fast-changing needs of the wider marketplace in which they operate. I couldn’t be more proud of them; I know how proud they are to represent New Covent Garden Market and they are an enormous credit to the community we have here.
It is for our trade in fresh fruit, veg and flowers that we are world renowned, but as it develops, the market is also spreading its wings. Our Food Exchange office space is fully occupied and a dynamic and inspirational home to a heady mix of businesses that will play a big part in future food innovation and production. One of the most encouraging things is the diversity within these businesses – not just the products they are introducing to the market, but also the cultural mix and the resultant fusion of cuisines from all over the world for the local London market, on its doorstep, and catering for the full spectrum of dietary and nutritional developments of the modern consumer.
On the first floor of the Food Exchange is Mission Kitchen, a shared workspace for independent food businesses that offers flexible access to commercial kitchens, co-working space and inspiring events for London's next generation of food innovators. This is a joint CGMA and GLA enterprise that represents a significant investment for CGMA, in financial, social and intellectual terms. Almost two years old, it has well over 100 members and that number is growing by the month. We expect many of those members to grow and eventually fly the Mission Kitchen nest to bigger things. And we’ll take pride in watching them making their impact on the wider world, having cut their teeth within our midst. Working side by side with our tenants, we’re establishing the platform for NCGM to remain as the fruit, vegetable and flower hub for London, the position it has proudly held for centuries. I can confidently predict too, that our entrepreneurial hub at the Food Exchange will prove to be a catalyst for creativity across the food and drink sector. So NCGM, a proud London institution, will be helping its city to develop its global image for many decades to come.
Working side by side with our tenants, we’re establishing the platform for NCGM to remain as the fruit, vegetable and flower hub for London, the position it has proudly held for centuries. I can confidently predict too, that our entrepreneurial hub at the Food Exchange will prove to be a catalyst for creativity across the food and drink sector. So NCGM, a proud London institution, will be helping its city to develop its global image for many decades to come.