HC Deb 09 April 1959 vol 603 cc35-6W
Sir F. Medlicott

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress has been made on the plan for improving Covent Garden Market.

Mr. John Hare

In my statement last June, I said that the first step was to provide elsewhere facilities for storage of empty containers and bulk produce. I foresaw that, pending the establishment of the statutory Covent Garden Market Authority, arrangements might be made by a local authority. The London County Council and the Corporation of the City of London have now introduced Bills, which have already received their Second Reading in another place, seeking the necessary powers. I am most grateful to them for their ready co-operation.

Powers sought by the City would enable temporary use to be made of part of the vacant Caledonian Market site, Islington. In my view, this site is suitable for this purpose and temporary depot facilities could quickly be provided there. Clearly the trade must have a very important voice in planning the detailed arrangements for operating the storage depot, and the Covent Garden Market Tenants' Association are giving active consideration to the many practical problems involved in the establishment of a depot.

My Ministry is keeping in close touch with the Association, and has recently conducted, at their request, a detailed survey of the use of returnable containers in the market. The survey has provided information essential for planning the operation of the depot. Considerable progress has therefore been made and no time should be lost in getting the depot going once the local authorities have obtained the necessary powers.

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