Hailsham market relocation one step closer

Uncertainty about the future of an historic livestock market in East Sussex may finally be coming to an end.

Campaigners have been working to relocate Hailsham Market to an alternative site since supermarket Aldi purchased the Hailsham Cattle Market Company and its current Market Street site in Hailsham more than two years ago.

Until recently no suitable or affordable sites had been found, but a 10-acre plot has now been identified next to the Diplocks roundabout on the A22.

The Hailsham Market Partnership, chaired by East Sussex County Councillor and farmer Bob Tidy, has been working with partners to secure funding to develop a state-of-the-art market and yesterday (31 January) agreed to develop a new business plan and seek planning permission for the site.

The Hailsham Market Action Group (HMAG) has taken out a two-year option to purchase the land at an agreed fixed price.

HMAG chairman Phil Hook, of Longleys Farm, Hailsham, said: "This really is good news for livestock farmers across the eastern corner of the South East.

"The future for Hailsham market, and the farmers who depend on it, looks much more secure in the long-term and we look forward to receiving great support for this exciting relocation."

The new market would be owned and managed by a specially created, farmer-owned, not-for-profit company, providing long-term security to the farming community. It would allow operators to meet the highest standards of animal welfare and provide improved facilities for users.

Once the business plan is complete, a consultation with local authorities at county, district, town and parish levels will take place to ensure widespread, in-principle support for the relocation and its objectives.

The farmers have proposed a "Cattle Market and Rural Business Centre" on the site, which would be a flagship for rural businesses. It would be constructed sympathetically from sustainable materials wherever possible and could provide employment for nearby Hailsham residents.

NFU South East Policy Adviser James Mulleneux said: "This news will provide an injection of much-needed confidence at a time when many livestock farmers are struggling to cover their cost of production.

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