Livestock farmers in North Yorkshire are being urged to invest in a new auction mart at Malton.
Councillor John Hicks, a farmer who was elected to Ryedale District Council last month, launched his idea of a Farmers’ Co-operative after calling the imminent closure of the existing market “a huge loss” to farmers and the local area.
“I have dealt with Malton market all my life, as did my father and grandfather before me,” he said.
“I deal with numerous businesses in town, especially on market days, and I know I am not alone.
“If farmers have to take their stock elsewhere, their cheque books will go with them.”
The Fitzwilliam Estate, which owns the current market, has submitted plans to redevelop the area with retail units, an area of public open space and car park.
Four sites have been suggested for the relocated market, the projected cost of which could be around £2.5m.
Councillor Hicks said that the new market was an investment opportunity open to everyone.
“However, we need a sound business plan backed financially by external investors who have an interest in the success of the project,” he said.
“I believe this can best be facilitated by a Farmers’ Co-operative and I invite all interested parties, farmers, businesses and the general public to pledge to buy shares in the new Malton Farmers Auction Mart.
“All pledges will be non-binding and confidential but should be seriously intended and I propose a minimum pledge of £500.
“I want this project to work so I appeal to everyone to invest in the future and pledge a stake in the new Malton market.”
Councillor Hicks added that he was prepared to invest £20,000 himself and would organise a meeting for investors if there was sufficient interest.
Farmers interested in pledging support or learning more about the scheme are invited to contact Councillor Hicks on 01653 628 242 or email firstname.lastname@example.org