NFU joins the battle to save Hailsham Mart

The NFU has joined voices campaigning to save Hailsham Market, from closure.

 Councillors in the East Sussex town are said to have unanimously rejected a planning application from an agent acting for supermarket Aldi for a mixed use site, which offered no explicit provision for an operational livestock market.

But local press reported South East Marts” managing director Nik Askaroff as saying the mart would close with or without planning permission, provoking an angry reaction from farmers.

Legal Recourse

Regional NFU food and farming adviser James Mulleneux said: “The only other livestock markets serving the south east are Ashford in Kent and Thame in Oxon.

It would be impractical for Sussex farmers to be forced to use these.

 “We are lobbying MPs to see what legal recourse we may have.” East Sussex NFU chairman John Padfield said Hailsham”s closure would come as a huge blow to farmers.

“The mart handles between 400 and 500 animals a week at this time of year and it would be stressful for animals to travel such long distances to Ashford and Thame.”

Hailsham Market Action Group, which fought off a closure threat nine years ago, has been revived and plans to appeal to the House of Lords to prevent the mart”s demise.

Chairman Philip Hook said: “The market is thriving and there is no need for it to close. We are looking at options for farmers to take control of the market and secure its future.”