London

New Covent Garden redevelopment plan gets go-ahead

New Covent Garden Image copyright St. Modwen
Image caption The plans includes 500,000 sq ft of market facilities and 135,000 sq ft of office space.

Plans to redevelop and modernise the country's biggest fresh produce market and build thousands of new homes have been given the go-ahead.

Wandsworth Council granted permission to upgrade the 40-year-old New Covent Garden in Nine Elms, south London.

The plan includes 11.5 acres (4.6 hecs) of market facilities and 135,000 sq ft (12,540 sq m) of office space.

More than 3,000 homes and 100,000 sq ft (9,290 sq m) of retail and leisure facilities will also be built.

A visitor centre and education space focused on the food industry will also be included in the development.

Image copyright St Modwen
Image caption Work is expected to start on site in spring.

Sarah McDermott, chairman of the council's planning committee, said: "The market is the biggest single development site in Nine Elms and an incredibly valuable source of local jobs.

"Its revival is key to our vision for the area and the redevelopment of its perimeter sites will fuse together key sections of the new people-friendly environment we are creating here. "

The government-owned New Covent Garden Market Authority was set up in 1974 to oversee the move of the Covent Garden Market from its famous Westminster base to 57-acre site at Nine Elms.

The authority is a statutory body that reports to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The plans have been developed by St Modwen Properties, VINCI Construction and the Covent Garden Market Authority.

The first phase will be works to upgrade utilities and other infrastructure in preparation for the construction in 2016.

In 2011, the government secured agreement for a £10bn release of public sector land to build 100,000 homes and redeveloping the Nine Elms site is a key part of the plan.

Work is expected to start on site in spring.

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