21 September 2001
Gloucester market to go

By Robert Harris

GLOUCESTER cattle market is to close, ending years of uncertainty over its future.

The venue was one of Englands leading livestock auctions.

Before BSE, it boasted the second-biggest calf market in the UK, claimed a top-five slot for barren cows, and sold large numbers of store cattle and lambs.

But, after 1996, throughput declined. Two years ago the owners, Gloucester City Council, said it intended to move the site to make way for a 40 million redevelopment.

The operator, Gloucester Market Auctioneers, fought hard to keep the venue open. But it was closed in February, along with all other UK markets, after the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

That, and the recent announcement by government that markets will not resume until next year and then only at locations that meet stringent new standards, finally sealed Gloucesters fate.

It is no longer commercially viable to bring the market up to modern standards, said market director Gavin Loynes.

“Given the life left in it, it would be unrealistic to spend a lot of money to allow it to reopen.”

However, Gloucester Market Auctioneers intends to continue dealing with store, breeding and finished stock at Cirencester market and through its deadweight business.

A review of its marketing activities could include a 2-3m investment in a greenfield site on the outskirts of Gloucester.

“But we are waiting to get a better feel for the regulations that government is likely to be put in place for livestock movements and marketing,” said Mr Loynes.

“In our view, things are going to be very different.”

Plans for a new livestock market and agriculture centre in the region have been put forward by rival firm, Hamiltons.

The 10m project is being considered by Tewkesbury Borough Council.

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