Two chartered surveyors, who operate Louth’s Cattle Market in partnership, have voiced fierce objections to the potential sale of the site, ahead of a major public meeting on the issue which takes place tomorrow.
Masons Chartered Surveyors from Louth and Willsons Chartered Surveyors from Alford - who operate the Cattle Market together as ‘Louth Market Auctioneers’ - were served formal notice to end their occupancy at the Cattle Market the end of the year.
This option must be strongly opposed as it is an immediate threat to the market continuing, even in the short term.Paul Robinson, Louth Market Auctioneers.
The partnership believes that a potential sale would have ‘serious implications’ for the future of the market and the livestock industry in the county.
David Williams, from the partnership, said: “Despite the council having served us with a formal notice to end our occupancy at the end of the year, we would like to make clear that we are fully committed to operating the market indefinitely - providing it is supported and serves the needs of the farming community whom we serve, and that it remains financially viable.
“In order to protect us from eviction this coming New Year, we have taken legal advice and have now instructed a national law firm to represent us and defend our strong legal position as tenants of the market site.
“It is crucial that both arable and livestock farmers take part in the consultation process so that the Council [ELDC] is made aware of the market’s importance to both the local livestock industry and the wider farming industry in the county.”
Paul Robinson added: “Our average trading figures for the last three years are 2,846 cattle sold, 11,821 sheep sold with a turnover of £3.4 million.
“These are consistent and have not declined over that period.”
As previously reported, there are three options on the table: to sell the current site for redevelopment and build a new cattle market in the Fairfield Industrial Estate; to refurbish the current site; or, most controversially, to sell the current site for redevelopment but not to build a replacement cattle market as had previously been promised.
Paul Robinson continued: “The most serious option is the one in which the Council would seek parliamentary consent for the Royal Charter to be amended at an estimated legal cost of £200,000.
“This would allow it to shut the livestock market which would be extremely detrimental to the town’s existing shops and the wider agricultural industry in the county on many different levels. This option must be strongly opposed as it is an immediate threat to the market continuing even in the short term.”
Paul added that the option to refurbish the current site would not cost the high figure - £700,000 - quoted by the District Council, as he claims that the only ‘essential’ repair work would be the replacement of roof sheets on the main building.
“Essentially the rest of the facility is in a good state of repair”, he added.
“Part of this option which would enable the Council to free up some of the existing site within our lease, in order to sell for appropriate development and release funds to repair the roof and fund bringing the sheep market into the main building, thus improving the sheep facilities.
“This would also mean that the Council could sell the Industrial Estate site presently earmarked for the new market.
“It is estimated there would still be a significant surplus of funds to reinvest elsewhere in the district. This option would safeguard the future of a livestock market in the County for the foreseeable future, and we believe it to be the only practical and economical proposal at present.
“We would hope that supporters will complete the survey by visiting www.e-lindsey.gov.uk/livestockmarket, which ends on September 6.
“A public meeting will be held at the Louth Town Hall at 6.30pm on Wednesday August 9.”
David Williams concluded: “We have been delighted by the warm response from our client base and the wider rural community to the plight of our market. A small livestock market in this strong farming county is an essential service we offer to the rural community.”