South East Wales

Existing Abergavenny cattle market 'cheaper,' report says

A report on the future of Abergavenny livestock market says it would be cheaper to redevelop the existing site than build a new mart elsewhere.

Monmouthshire council has agreed to sell the site, and plans a new market 10 miles (16km) away near Raglan.

Abergavenny Civic Society commissioned a report which says redevelopment would cost about £2.25m, but the council's plan would cost closer to £5m.

The council said money made from the sale could help improve schools.

In January, the Welsh government agreed to Monmouthshire council's request to repeal 150-year-old laws requiring it to provide a market in the town centre.

The council, which owns the land, backs plans for the replacement and claims the development of the current town centre market site would help regenerate the town.

It has already given planning permission for a supermarket and a new library on the livestock site.

However, a report commissioned by the Abergavenny Civic Society (ACC), claims re-developing the existing market would cost approximately half of the council's new site.

It says: "Improving the market facilities will enable greater agricultural trade which will lead to the introduction of new jobs within the market for local people.

"Increasing parking capacity on non market days will increase the attraction of Abergavenny as a shopping destination which in turn will create jobs in the small retail outlets within the town."

The report claims that allowing a new supermarket to develop the site would be "damaging to the community", adding: "There are other sites available in the town that could provide for a supermarket without the need to decrease the heritage of the town."

Monmouthshire council has yet to comment officially on the report, but says the new site will have better facilities for farmers and the sale of Abergavenny market would cover the new development.

Any surplus, it says, could be used for improvements to the county's four high schools.

Cllr Peter Fox, council leader, said: "It's an important receipt for us, but money isn't the driver here."

Speaking at the existing market, farmer Wayne Langford, from Tredegar, said: "Why can't we sort these buildings out and try and keep the market in town?"

Jonathan Fletcher, from Neath, wants a new livestock market because he says it would be a "better location" and "obviously it would be a new modern market".

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