Farmers will get their first use of a multi-million pound new livestock building at Melton Cattle Market on Tuesday.
The structure, which replaces delapidated cattle sheds, is the centrepiece of a £5.5million project to revitalise the historic market.
It will also safeguard the market’s key role in the town’s economy for decades to come.
The new livestock building has an acre of floor space, housing 173 pens and with a capacity for over 1,000 animals.
It is hoped it will be officially opened by a member of the Royal family later this year.
Hugh Brown, chief executive officer of the cattle market said: “We are delighted to be moving into the new building, which will be a beacon for the urban and rural economy for the next 20 years.
“It is testament to the dedication of all involved that we have not only been able to keep the market open, but grow livestock numbers during the works.”
Tuesday’s opening of the livestock building for a cattle sale, comes almost a year to the day since the council’s contractor Morgan Sindall moved onto the site.
The £5.5 million project is due to complete in July, and despite encountering many challenges, mainly underground, the project remains on track and within budget.
Demolition of the old cattle shed building will begin on Wednesday.
Melton Council has invested £2m into the new building and the project received £3.5 million Local Growth Fund grant funding with support from the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP).
The livestock market has remained open throughout the construction period.
Pick Everard, the council’s project consultants, have been working in collaboration with the council and contractor to manage the project.
Melton’s livestock market was first mentioned in the Domesday Book and has been described by some as the ‘life blood’ of Melton.
A council survey revealed that 93 per cent of businesses in the town welcomed the developments positively because the Tuesday market brings increased footfall to the town.
Architects are now looking at proposals for phase two of the market’s redevelopment, including a food and drinks hub to showcase the borough’s heritage products.