Wales

Car park set to replace 200-year-old Cowbridge market

After two centuries Cowbridge livestock market is to be replaced by a car park Image copyright Vale of Glamorgan Council
Image caption After two centuries Cowbridge livestock market is set to be replaced by a car park

A 200-year-old livestock market looks set to be replaced by a car park.

Vale of Glamorgan Council has said it needs the spaces in Cowbridge so it can attract more shoppers and tourists.

However, the Farmers Union of Wales (FUW) has objected to the plans which it fears will mean its members could face a 45-mile trip to sell animals.

The council said it was working to identify a plot of land for a larger market site.

The cabinet has rubber-stamped the plans to take the licence from the current market next year.

The local authority said the lack of town centre parking was a long-standing problem and it wanted Cowbridge to be a "first class destination for shoppers and tourists".

It plans to spend £65,000 on a study into the car park's viability and the number of spaces needed.

However, the FUW fears the loss of the market could mean extra costs and worries for the agricultural community, and wants a "stay of execution" for the market.

"If it closes then the closest alternative is at Raglan, Carmarthen or Brecon and that will mean extra costs for our members," FUW county executive officer Rachel Saunders said.

"Cowbridge farmers, who do not have the necessary accreditation, are only allowed to transport their stock for a maximum of 50km.

"This means they will have to pay additional haulage costs to sell their produce."

Vacant cattle pens on the site have also been demolished to expose Cowbridge's historical town wall in a £120,000 project by the Cowbridge Charter Trust due to be completed in August.

Rhys Edwards, who has a farm on the outskirts of Bridgend, said: "It's not worth travelling a long way because of the cost of transporting them.

Image caption Rhys Edwards said it would be a "big loss" if the market went

"It's also good to come here and socialise with other farmers. It'll be a big loss if it goes."

Phillip Jenkins, a farmer, near Pontypridd also said it "should stay".

He said: "When we're here we also spend money in the town. We'll go to the local hardware and supply stores. It's good for the local economy."

Geoff Thomas, who has a farm between Tonypandy and Tonyrefail, added: "I've taken stock to Raglan market - that's a whole day gone and half a tank of petrol. So there will be extra transport costs if it goes.

"But we'll also miss the meeting place and chance to see the professionals we meet here on a weekly basis."

Councillor Lis Burnett, deputy leader of the council, said: "From the outset the council has sought to work with the current market operators, farming unions and other farming representatives to identify the longer-term needs of farmers in the region.

"Work is under way with partners to identify a plot of land for a larger market site that could cater for a whole range of agricultural businesses.

"We are confident that by working closely with the farming community and Welsh Government these plans can be brought to fruition."

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