The Welsh Labour candidate for the Vale of Glamorgan has urged the council to scrap plans to build a supermarket on the demolished Cowbridge market site in south Wales.
Jane Hutt, who has represented the Vale since 1999, said she was also “engaged in discussions” about finding an alternative market site to serve the Vale and surrounding counties.
Discussion between the council, Welsh government and farming unions about a new “agri hub” are ongoing, which would be subject to funding being available.
The final sheep sale at Cowbridge took place on 1 September 2020, ahead of its demolition in November.
Farmers were devastated when the 200-year-old market closed, and since then they have been forced to travel long distances to sell their livestock.
Sheep farmer Rob Thomas, from the nearby village of Colwinston, welcomed the renewed interest in finding an alternative site for farmers, ahead of the Senedd elections on 6 May.
‘Glimmer of hope’
“It looks like political parties are fighting for it now as it’s election time; this offers a glimmer of hope for Glamorgan’s farmers,” Mr Thomas said.
In a statement on Facebook, Ms Hutt said: “I believe there must be a way forward, building on longstanding partnerships of mutual interest to develop a sustainable future for Cowbridge market, that does not include a food retail scheme as currently outlines in the Vale Council’s proposals.
“I am therefore urging the Vale of Glamorgan Council to reconsider the food retail supermarket proposals for the former livestock marketplace and engage with the working committee and local civic/business interests to consider options and alternatives.
“I will do everything I can to support such an initiative for the future prosperity of Cowbridge, its residents and businesses.”
There is strong opposition from businesses and residents to the new supermarket in the historic market town due to concern about how local, specialist and independent retailers will cope.
Ms Hutt added that there was a “strong view” that Cowbridge does not need another supermarket as it already has Waitrose, Tesco and Filco stores.
Vale of Glamorgan Council said consultancy firm PER is exploring potential funding sources for a new “agri hub” for farmers.