Newark Livestock Market is under threat after Newark and Sherwood District Council took steps to terminate its lease for failing to pay rent on the land on which the market is located.
The livestock market will be open this Saturday (7 March) but Andy Guy, NFU county adviser for Nottinghamshire, said it was likely that it will close for a short time afterwards as negotiations to find a potential new tenant continue.
The market sold 353 cattle and 2,625 sheep in the week ending 4 March.
Mr Guy said: “Newark Livestock Market is a hugely important focal point for farmers not just in our county but further afield too and it’s incredibly saddening that it has come to this point.
“We are pleased that Newark & Sherwood District Council is committed to maintaining a thriving livestock market at Newark and we will continue to work with them and all parties involved to ensure that happens.”
The council said that the market had continually failed to meet the agreed schedule of payments despite numerous attempts to provide assistance and flexibility, leaving it with no alternative but to terminate the lease.
It said it is mindful of the market’s importance to the local rural community and is considering alternative arrangements for it to continue in the short term on its present site, with an alternative site found for the long term, if a viable or sustainable solution can be achieved.
The council is understood to be considering moving the market in the long term to nearby Newark Showground.
Newark and Sherwood District Council leader David Lloyd said: “It’s extremely disappointing that we’ve been forced to take this action, but it would be unfair on every other business and resident in Newark and Sherwood who pay their taxes if we simply ignored the cattle market’s substantial and longstanding arrears.
“Terminating the lease of the cattle market is not a decision we have taken lightly and we’re obviously concerned about the impact on our local farming community.
“The reality though is that we have lost trust and confidence in the current leaseholder and have exhausted every informal avenue to secure repayment of monies owed to the council.”
Last year Farmers Weekly reported that one in three livestock markets were making a loss.
Cheshire-based Wright Marshall was forced into administration owning farmers significant sums of money.
Two livestock markets in south Wales also closed their doors in 2019.