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Covent Garden Market

New Covent Garden Market is the UK's largest fresh produce wholesale market, primarily selling fresh fruit and veg and flowers.  It is located on a 57 acre site at Nine Elms in Wandsworth, London, and run by the Covent Garden Market Authority (CGMA).

Government has owned the Market since 1961 and it has been situated at Nine Elms since 1974.  It is governed by a series of Acts of Parliament from the 1960s and 1970s.  The Covent Garden Market Authority is a statutory corporation sponsored by Defra.  Its Chairman and board members are appointed by Defra Ministers.  Baroness Dean is the current Chairman (appointed 2005) and Jan Lloyd the Chief Executive.

Government policy

It is the Government's long term policy to disengage from our interests in New Covent Garden Market.  In so doing, however, we wish to secure arrangements which will maintain the Market as a going concern which can both accommodate the businesses which are established there and allow it to develop as a consolidated market.

In 2003 Defra Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Ben Bradshaw stated:

‘In relation to New Covent Garden Market ... it remains the Government's policy to disengage ...  In so doing, however, we shall aim to secure arrangements which will maintain the Market as a going concern which can both accommodate the businesses which are established there and allow it to develop as a consolidated market as envisaged by the Saphir Report.’ 

The Saphir Report is a 2002 review of London wholesale markets Commissioned by Defra.  The Greater London Assembly also conducted its own review of London’s wholesale markets in 2007.

Redevelopment - Project Chrysalis

In June 2005, PricewaterhouseCoopers was appointed to advise on the future development of New Covent Garden Market and its site at Nine Elms.  They recommended that the best way to successfully deliver the Government’s ultimate aim of disengagement was through reform and redevelopment.  Defra accepted this recommendation.  The Executive summary (PDF 24 KB) of PricewaterhouseCoopers report is available.

Since the publication of the report CGMA has undertaken significant organisational and business reform, delivering a professionally focused and efficient business meeting the needs of its customers.

Since 2006 Project Chrysalis, the redevelopment project will lead to the redevelopment of the Nine Elms site and the market’s accommodation. An initial consultation was completed with the tenants at the market as to their requirements and an outline business case developed. In September 2008 the Government approved the business case and in October 2008 the Authority announced that it would begin the process of finding a development partner, expecting to run an EU-wide procurement process starting in 2009. For further information see the CGMA website.

Page last modified: 6 October 2009
Page published: 22 May 2006