Melton Council has been given the green light to proceed with a £5.5m re-development of the Melton Livestock Market.
The council received confirmation from the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership that Central Government has approved a £3.5m Local Growth Fund grant.
This news arrived just in time to enable members at the appropriate committee meeting on Thursday to instruct officers to issue the main build contract with construction and infrastructure company Morgan Sindall.
The project has planning consent (subject to conditions that need to be discharged) and the intended timetable will see the contractors move in on site in May, with demolition starting in June.
The livestock market will remain open throughout the 40-week construction period.
Councillor Joe Orson, chairman of the council’s rural, economic and environmental affairs committee, said: “This project is the culmination of over 10 years of planning. The existing facilities, especially those for auctioning cattle, are in a poor condition and no longer fit for purpose.
“We’re delighted that Central Government has shown its support for the rural economy. Replacement pens are required to ensure that the livestock market remains safe, competitive and continues to provide a facility that will draw people to Melton Mowbray and add to the local economy for the next 20 years.
He added: “All the stakeholders involved in this project have been working closely together to get to this point.
“We know that this is an operational site on the edge of town, with old buildings that will always pose potential risks. However, the project team have managed to identify and, where possible, mitigate these risks and we are now looking forward to getting the building work started. “
Hugh Brown, chief executive officer of Gillstream Markets Ltd, which manages the market, said: “We’re delighted the grant has been confirmed and construction can get under way. The new facilities will greatly enhance the market for customers, enable industry leading welfare standards and attract more visitors to the town. We’ll work closely with all parties to minimise any disruption during the building phase and look forward to a grand opening in 2017.”