The people of Louth appear to be ready to fight to save the town’s cattle market should East Lindsey District Council decide to sell it.
A public meeting, organised by Louth Town Council and held at Louth’s British Legion Hall on Monday night, saw around 80 members of the public given the chance to have their say on ELDC’s controversial announcement that it will seek ‘expert advice’ over whether to cash in on the Newmarket site after ‘significant interest’ from major supermarket retailers.
A number of local political figures called on the public to launch petitions and campaigns in a bid to stop the town’s ‘family silver’ being sold off.
It was also revealed at the meeting by Louth Town Coun Andrew Leonard that the Cattle Market site could be worth as much as £10 million to the district council.
Louth resident Geoff Scarffe said he feared the sale of the Cattle Market would be ‘as damaging to Louth’ as the closure of the town’s railways station which was closed in 1970.
And Nick Louth, a member of the Keep Louth Special group, told the meeting that he feared ELDC would not listen unless there was a groundswell of public opposition to the sale.
“It’s important we don’t let this impetus dissipate,” he said.
There were also ideas raised as to how the current Cattle Market site can be made more viable and sustainable.
Ideas included a climbing wall, agricultural shops, car boot sales and even a hotel, which are to be put to ELDC are possible new uses for the site.
The Cattle Market is covered by a Royal Charter which states that Louth must be provided with another site if the current one is sold.
But Coun Sue Locking said she understood that the Charter states that the Cattle Market does not have to be sited in Louth, but can be sited in the surrounding areas, though this has not been confirmed.
Others said they feared ELDC was carrying out a ‘marketing exercise’ in the independent assessment.
Ex-Mayor of Louth Coun Jill Makinson-Sanders said: “I think East Lindsey knows exactly where this is going.
“This is about how they are going to market the site.”
Read the full report from the meeting in tomorrow’s Louth Leader.