Covent Garden Market

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th July 1964.

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Photo of Sir John Hall Sir John Hall , Wycombe 12:00 am, 13th July 1964

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when Covent Garden Market will be moved from its present site to Nine Elms.

Photo of Mr Christopher Soames Mr Christopher Soames , Bedford

The Government agree with the Covent Garden Market Authority's recommendation that both the fruit and vegetable market and the flower market should be moved to a site at Nine Elms, although the precise area to be acquired and the form of construction must remain for further consideration. I have told the Authority that it would be reasonable for them to proceed with the drafting of the Private Bill that will be necessary. The Authority will be working towards the opening of the new market by a date not later than 1971.

Photo of Sir John Hall Sir John Hall , Wycombe

As the Authority has a statutory obligation to have the market ready and open by 1968, does this mean that, in any new legislation which is brought forward, not only will an Amendment cover moving Covent Garden from its site but also extend the date from 1968 to 1971?

Photo of Mr Christopher Soames Mr Christopher Soames , Bedford

Yes—I think it was 1969, but my hon. Friend may be right. The answer is that this will need to be incorporated in legislation. This site was decided upon after long thought and deliberation by the Market Authority and the Government as the best one for this market. It would not begin to become available until 1966, and much of it would not become available until the years following that, so it could not be until 1971 if we put the market on this site, which seems to be the best site available.

Photo of Sir John Hall Sir John Hall , Wycombe

Are there any plans for the use to which the existing Covent Garden Market site will be put when it is vacated?

Photo of Mr Christopher Soames Mr Christopher Soames , Bedford

That is a different question and is not connected with the movement of Covent Garden Market.

Photo of Mr John Mackie Mr John Mackie , Enfield East

How does this tie up with all that we were told two years ago about it being absolutely essential to keep Covent Garden Market on the site where it is at present?

Photo of Mr Christopher Soames Mr Christopher Soames , Bedford

It was said during the course of the passage of the Bill through the House that if the Market Authority which we set up—which alone could judge all these factors—in the course of deliberations thought the market would be better moved elsewhere, we would not stand in the way of the Authority in promoting a Private Bill.