A customer drove the writer round the 21acre site, said to be the largest in the country, then we walked round the warehouse units stocking meat, fish, poultry, flowers, fruit and vegetables.
Forklift trucks moved produce around and tunnels and alleyways give convenient access to the units and to the barrows used by outdoor traders.
A significant proportion of the trading units are now closed, the largest loss of tenants being in the meat market. My guide said that this is due to the expansion of supermarket chains, which do not buy from the market, and to the fact that increasing numbers of people buy ‘ready-cooked’ and takeaway meals instead of fresh produce.
He thought that as a number of units are no longer in use, it would be possible to rebuild on a smaller scale or redesign and renovate the existing accommodation, reducing the acreage and freeing acres for a redevelopment project, without adversely affecting the wholesale and retail traders and those they employ.