Plans to replace dilapidated cattle sheds at Melton Livestock Market with modern new buildings are given the go-ahead

Councillor Joe Orson on the site of the cattle sheds to be upgraded first during phase one of the �5.5m cattle market regeneration project EMN-151015-165536001

Councillor Joe Orson on the site of the cattle sheds to be upgraded first during phase one of the �5.5m cattle market regeneration project EMN-151015-165536001

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A major project to replace dilapidated cattle sheds at Melton Livestock Market with modern fit-for-purpose buildings, to be relocated at the historic site, has reached a key milestone.

Planning permission has now been granted for the replacement of the old buildings which are at the end of their useful life.

The existing buildings, especially those for auctioning of cattle, are in a poor condition and no longer fit for purpose.

Supporters of the cattle market regeneration project say the proposed modern, safe and well-designed facilities will protect and safeguard the livestock market on the current site for at least the next 20 years. The investment will also release land to the south of the site for potential future complimentary development.

The new buildings will ensure the livestock market remains safe, competitive and continues to comply with increasingly stringent DEFRA requirements.

It’s hoped building work will start in May. The footpath will be relocated to a similar route to the existing, rather than the more direct route in front of the sheep shed. This will be dealt with as a planning condition.

The livestock market - first mentioned in the Domesday Book - has been described by local business operators as the ‘life blood’ of Melton.

Melton Council has had long-held ambitions to improve the existing seven hectare site. Plans for the re–development, rationalisation and improvements have been in the making for the past 10 years or so.

Councillor Joe Orson said: “The market is quite unique as it remains within walking distance of the town centre, it caters for a wide range of activities including the farmers’ market, auctions, car boot sales, food and drink festivals, events, weddings and receptions.

“The site’s activities attract tourists and commercial visitors to the town and it has significant spin off benefits within the town and for the wider rural economy. As other markets are closing, our market grows and gains a wider regional and national significance. We’re seeking to enhance this and its potential further.”

David Willars, chairman of the Melton Mowbray Market partners, added: “We’re delighted this milestone has been reached. With the new state-of-the-art cattle building, a 20-year lease and our conversion into a limited company with new external finance, we’re confident Melton Mowbray Market can thrive and become an even bigger driver for the prosperity of its customers, the town and the wider region.”

The project is expected to bring additional benefits at the market by providing an enhanced division between livestock and visitors, resulting in better safety and enhanced traffic flows in and around the site.

The council, which is working closely with the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership and local stakeholders, has secured £3.5 million of grant funding to help fund the project. The authority has also committed £2m of its own funding to the project which will help to re-enforce Melton’s reputation and branding as the nation’s ‘rural capital of food.’