Tempers flared at a Louth Town Council meeting this week as councillors decided upon the best way to save the Cattle Market site. The debate followed a presentation from Lincolnshire County Councillor Colin Davie, who came to speak in favour of preserving the “special place” that is the market town of Louth.
Coun Davie said: “I would say that you have one of the towns in the county that people should justifiably be proud of.
“What happens in Louth is really down to the community. It’s down to you, the representatives of that community.
“East Lindsey District Council may own the [Cattle Market] site, but ‘ownership’ is one of those words... what does it really mean? It is entrusted to them from the past, so they own it - but does it belong to them? Who does it belong to? It belongs to people, it belongs to communities.
“I want to see Louth continue and progress, and become the food capital of Lincolnshire. If we lose the cattle market on this particular site then it will be a big disservice not only to the town, but to the county.”
Coun Davie’s speech was met with a round of applause, and Town Councillor Sue Locking said: “As a founder member of ‘Keep Louth Special’, this is all music to my ears so thank you very much!
“One of my things about the Cattle Market is that it is the silver - and East Lindsey haven’t looked after the silver. Long ago it could’ve been a money-making operation if only they had only developed some plans. It could have been making money for years, and they wouldn’t even have to be thinking about selling it as an asset.”
Coun Eileen Ballard said that Coun Davie’s speech was “invigorating”, and suggested setting up a public meeting with him and LCC Officer Justin Brown (Head of Economic Regeneration), who made a presentation about potential funding methods following Coun Davie’s speech.
This suggestion led to a fierce debate between councillors as to whether a detailed plan should be drawn up and then presented to the public, or whether to hold a fresh consultation to try and get businesses and members of the public on board.
Coun Ballard’s suggestion was met with opposition by Coun Pauline Watson who said: “I think it’s a bit late in the day to start gathering troops now. We don’t want signatures, we want a proposal!”
Louth Mayor, Coun David Wing, added: “We have a plan, and now we’ve got to develop that into a business plan. But that would be for Keep Louth Special, Louth Town Council, Councillor Davie and Mr Brown to develop.”
Coun Ballard retorted: “Is that what the public want? That’s why we’ve got have a public meeting to see if all of the town want that.” Coun Wing responded that a public meeting had already been held and the public were invited.
Coun Andrew Leonard then put forward an official proposal to develop a “credible business plan” which would then be presented to the public; the council voted against the motion.
Coun Ballard’s motion was then passed, and her fellow councillors voted to delegate authority to her. The date of the upcoming public meeting is yet to be confirmed.