A £5.5m project to regenerate Melton’s Livestock Market, securing its future at the current site for the next 20 years, has entered a key technical design stage.
A planning application for phase one of the scheme - which will involve the relocation and replacement of dilapidated old cow sheds - is expected to be submitted within four weeks.
Phase two of the project will see the development of a southern ‘opportunity area’ for food and drink and rural-related activities.
David Blanchard, Melton Council’s corporate property officer, gave an update on the project’s progress at a recent meeting of the authority’s rural, economic and environmental affairs committee.
Members heard that the market would remain in operation every Tuesday throughout the forecasted 40-week development programme. It’s hoped that building work will begin in April 2016.
Mr Blanchard said: “We’re looking at options to see if we can do a bit of provisional work in November and December when the market is quiet. Consultants are virtually ready to submit the planning application. We’re just speaking with (County) Highways to get the traffic impact assessment agreed.”
He added: “The market partners are looking at how they can bring in investment over the next 20 years. We’re also speaking to traders and farmers’ market traders. There’s a lot of enthusiasm from the farmers’ market and we’re talking to them about some interim improvements.”
The council has secured a £3.5m Local Growth Fund grant towards the project cost from the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership, with a further £2m coming from the council’s capital receipts budget.
Councillor Joe Orson, chairman of the council’s rural, economic and environmental affairs committee, said: “Melton is probably the only cattle market in the East Midlands that is virtually in the town centre. It’s a jewel in our crown which attracts people to Melton on Tuesdays and Saturdays.