Farmers lead a campaign to bring market back home

Livestock producers in the central Midlands can look forward to two new markets if current proposals for Northampton and Rugby succeed.

Northampton market currently operates at Thrapston market, but a number of farmers have expressed a wish to see it return to a site nearer its home town.

A farmer consortium headed by Richard Sawbridge, a local producer from north Buckinghamshire, is hopeful of raising the £2.5m needed to purchase the freehold of a site of about 4ha (10 acres) next to the former Northampton market at Brackmills.

Mr Sawbridge plans to meet officials next week to finalise details before formal proposals are submitted.

“Our feasibility study fully supports this as a business plan and as soon as the planning application is approved I will begin raising the money.

Owning the freehold guarantees our future security.

Having done it before for the same venture, I am confident I can do it again,” said Mr Sawbridge.

Similarly, Rugby market is preparing to move to a new site at the beginning of next year.

A farmer co-operative has obtained a 20-year lease of some existing farm buildings at a site just east of the M69 motorway at Wolvey.

Having received approval for a market the new group, Rugby Farmers Mart, plans to spend £1.6m modifying the site.

However, the success of the plan is subject to the group securing the necessary funding.

Although it is confident of raising half of the necessary capital from farmers in the region, the group is hopeful that a grant from the regional development agency will make up the shortfall.

The decision to build two new markets in the region was welcomed by Livestock Auctioneers Association executive secretary Chris Dodds.

“The industry flourishes and thrives on competition.

Farmers in areas of the country that are well-served by marts receive better prices than those in areas poorly served because buyers like markets.”

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