Billingsgate, the historic London fish market, is at risk of being moved to a number of smaller plots.

The Corporation of London, which manages the market, moved it to its Docklands site 20 years ago, but has realised that the traditional rent paid by the market is not generating the value represented by the site. For the market pays just rent of just one fish per year. The Lord Mayor of London takes receipt of the fish, and then passes it to the owner of the land, namely Tower Hamlets council.

Few councils can afford to let valuable real estate sit empty, or in this case far from empty but certainly not lucrative. A proposal has been made in the London Wholesale Markets Review that the market be split up and moved to several sites scattered around London.

It seems that the best that Billingsgate executives can hope for is that the market be moved, but not split up. Finding a suitable site will not be easy though. Proposed sites include New Covent Garden in Nine Elms, of the new Smithfield meat market in Leyton, reported the Sunday Times.