A demonstration has taken place over the planned closure of a 200-year-old livestock market.
About 1,000 protesters, including 400 farmers and businessmen, took part in the protest last Friday (13 April) against the planned closure of Cowbridge Market in Glamorgan. Farmers travelled in a convoy of tractors through Cowbridge as part of the protest,
Vale of Glamorgan Council is redeveloping the town centre and wants to replace the market with a new housing scheme and public parking. Although a new site has been identified, a lack of funding means a new market is unlikely.
Protestors claimed the closure of the market, which holds weekly livestock sales, would devastate the town, slashing footfall for local businesses and removing 170 parking spaces. “It was a peaceful show of feeling by the people of Cowbridge that the development isn’t wanted,” said auctioneer Andrew Thomas.
In the absence of a replacement mart, farmers would have to make a 90-mile round trip to Abergavenny Market, which in itself is likely to be developed into a controversial supermarket site.
“Potentially, we could be left with just Carmarthen, which would not be in the best interest of farmers in the area,” added Mr Thomas. “You can’t underestimate the importance of having a market – it’s not just about price and transparency, it performs an important social function in the farming fraternity.”
Glyn Davies, county executive officer for the Farmers Union of Wales, said closing the market would remove a vital lifeline from the town. “The market deals with more than 1,000 lambs a week during the summer/autumn period. It is crucial it is kept open as there are no proposed alternative sites.”
The council met with farming representatives and other interested parties on the local development plan towards the end of last year.
“Feedback is still awaited from those representatives that attended the meeting,” said a council spokesperson. “The leader is a strong supporter of the farming community and is committed to appropriate and meaningful discussion with interested parties on the future of the site.”