Page last updated at 06:56 GMT, Friday, 6 November 2009

New 13m livestock market opens


Welshpool livestock market in Powys has moved to a new 13m home

A livestock market in Powys dubbed one of the largest in Europe has moved to a multimillion-pound new home.

The development in Welshpool, built on 16 acres (6.4ha) at a cost of £13m, is a mile away from its original base.

It is believed there has been a market on the old town centre site for centuries, but that is making way for a supermarket and a petrol station.

Montgomeryshire MP Lembit Opik said the new mart would create jobs and benefit the wider rural economy.

The original site is to be transformed into a shopping development, to include a supermarket, a petrol station and some shops.

The combined costs of constructing this and relocating the market have been put at £27.5m.

'Crucial link'

This makes the developments two of the largest in mid Wales for many years, and the new market is seen as significant for the region's farming industry.

Mr Opik said: "Welshpool's one-day livestock market will be one of the biggest in Europe and it is a crucial link in creating a sustainable production chain for agriculture.

"The development is at the heart of regeneration in the area and will create thousands of jobs in the food supply chain and wider rural economy.

"I'm in no doubt that it will match its previous reputation from the 1530s as the 'best market in Powysland'."

Welshpool livestock market attracts farmers not only from mid Wales, but from parts of north Wales and communities across the border in England.

Its owners said the new development would protect 55 jobs and provide dozens of indirect jobs in sectors as diverse as farming, catering and construction.

Farmers' Union of Wales president Gareth Vaughan said: "I believe Welshpool mart will continue to attract stock from as far afield as south Ceredigion and beyond.

"And I'm confident that the market will remain a magnet for a large number of buyers for the excellent produce of farms throughout mid and west Wales."

The new market boasts 1,044 sheep and 200 cattle pens.

The executive secretary of the Livestock Auctioneers Association Chris Dodds will officially open it later.

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