The last livestock market in Lincolnshire faces an uncertain future after the local council admitted it was considering the redevelopment of the site at Louth.

East Lindsey District Council appointed ADAS consultants to assess the sustainability of Louth cattle market, including a detailed analysis of future livestock production trends and sales in Lincolnshire.

The document has been published online (691kb pdf).

Market throughput at Louth has seen a downward trend since the 2001 foot-and-mouth crisis, says the report. Vendors are moving away from the market. Cattle throughput has decreased by 38%, and sheep throughput decreased by 32%.

“The view from stakeholders is that the market is becoming financially more uncertain due to this underlying reduction in throughput and erosion of business.

Lower revenue reduces the ability to invest in infrastructure and marketing activities.”

Edward Mossop, the council’s portfolio holder for rural services, said the report had highlighted the economic and social role played by the cattle market. “This will be extremely important in helping us to work alongside user groups in the future.”

Breeding ewe numbers in Lincolnshire have decreased by 27% since 2000, 6% more than the rest of the UK. Over the same period, cattle numbers have fallen more slowly than in neighbouring counties, nonetheless decreasing by 10%.