A new limited company taking over the management of Melton Mowbray Market is already setting its sights on achieving future growth and greater long-term security.
Management of the market will pass to Gillstream Markets Ltd by the end of October. Gillstream has agreed heads of terms on a new 20-year lease with Melton Council.
The existing partners in the market will become directors of the new company, with businessman Hugh Brown becoming CEO and being
joined on the board by Combie Cryan. Both men have extensive business experience, Mr Brown spending 17 years at the London Stock Exchange, while Mr Cryan has worked in agricultural and energy markets in New Zealand and the UK.
Funding for the new company is being raised via an enterprise investment scheme, and shareholders are expected to include both
customers and businesspeople - both local and from across the UK.
Mr Brown, who has moved to Melton, says the market - one of the biggest town centre livestock markets still operating - has ‘huge history and great potential.’
He said: “Seventy pence of every pound spent in Melton Mowbray on market days is by people attending the market. But we need to adopt a modern, independently capitalised business structure and move away from the current partnership model.
“Commissions paid by vendors will not rise under the new structure. Markets thrive on scale and we will be focussing our energies on working with our customers to bring more volume to drive income, rather than imposing higher charges.”
He added: “We passionately believe public livestock markets offer the most efficient means of trading livestock, bringing multiple buyers and sellers together in a transparent process to determine price.
“Some 2,500 customers use the market every year – many attend every week. I believe that with our new structure and investment we can further develop the business to the benefit of the town, our thousands of loyal customers and other stakeholders.”
All of the attendant activities on the site – like the Market Tavern, banqueting suite, fur/feather market, farmers’ and antiques fairs – will be retained.
The venue already hosts the Traditional Native Breeds National Show and Sale, National Sheep Association regional ram sales and
re-introduced horse sales earlier this month after a three year break.
It has also been selected as partner auctioneers for the East of England Smithfield Festival in November, and early discussions aimed at attracting more sales to the venue have been positive, Mr Brown said.
Plans for phase one of the cattle market re-development are expected to go before the council’s planning committee next month while contractors are getting prices for the new development in readiness for works to start next year.
The council has secured £5.5m of investment to build a new state-of-the-art cattle building on the site, with £3.5m grant funding secured from the Growth Fund through the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP). Along with this the council has also committed £2m funding to the project.
The new cattle building will house sales rings for finished animals, store animals, calves and pigs, as well as penning.
Subject to finance and other factors, work is scheduled to start in May 2016 and be completed by October, with the market continuing to operate normally throughout the development.
Councillor Joe Orson, chairman of the council’s rural, economic and environmental affairs committee, said: “We’re very excited to be taking the next steps forward to secure this re-development.
“Getting rid of the old cattle market buildings that are at the end of their useful life and replacing them with modern fit-for-purpose buildings will help to ensure the market continues to be a thriving asset for the region.”