South-west auctioneer Greenslade Taylor Hunt has agreed a deal to operate the region’s proposed new livestock centre, set to open later this year.

Greenslade Taylor Hunt, which currently runs Taunton livestock market, has acquired the business of Highbridge market auctioneer J H Palmer & Sons.

Jeremy Bell of J H Palmer & Sons joins the partnership of Greenslade Taylor Hunt and will continue to operate from the Burnham-on-Sea office.

Both marts will close when the new multi-million pound rural business centre, near Junction 24 of the M5, is built.

Taunton market’s site has been earmarked for several years as key to Taunton Deane Borough Council’s Vision for Taunton development plan.

Developer Mead Realisations expects the new agribusiness centre to be completed late in 2007 or early 2008.

Between them, Taunton and Highbridge markets currently handle 1350 store and finished cattle and 6000 sheep.