September 19 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, August 2, 2014
Farmers and all supporters of Norwich Livestock Market are being urged to sign a Government e-petition in the fight to save it.
The petition, at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/67839, went online earlier this week and has already attracted nearly 120 signatures.
It states: “Norwich City Council are looking to take a bill through Parliament so it is no longer obliged to provide a livestock market.
“The land owner Graham Dacre has admitted it is his long term goal to develop the whole site including the area currently used by the livestock market.
“Please support local farmers. It is an English tradition that needs to be kept.”
Market director Mike Beckett said the council had made its intentions quite clear last year when deputy leader Alan Waters revealed in an EDP story that the authority would be investigating legal routes to end its obligations concerning the market, dating back to a 1984 Act of Parliament.
And more immediate doubt has been cast on the future of the Hall Road market this month by entrepreneur Graham Dacre who bought the site from the city council four years ago in a multi-million pound deal and leased it back on a 99-year agreement.
He first ended his agreement to lease a second parking area - considered vital at busy times by market directors - and then has stepped up the pressure by imposing stringent parking restrictions on access roads.
Mr Beckett said: “Farmers have clearly stated that we must fight - and some have even threatened to take livestock up to City Hall.
“If they did not want it, they would not use it. And if the Norwich market closed, it would mean travelling to Colchester, Newark or Melton Mowbray instead.”
The introduction of Fur and Feather sales had brought in a whole new range of customers, for example those interested in rare breed poultry.
Mr Beckett said in his time at the market, they had cleared its debts and proved it was sustainable.
Mr Dacre said that not withstanding recent events he was “supportive of there being a cattlemarket in Norfolk”.
He said: “The hope is progress can be made in relation to a new site. We need a three-way solution: Norwich Livestock Market with a new home, the council free of ongoing liability and DPH (Dacre Proerty Holdings) with a site it can ultimately redevelop.
“Over the last four years there has been no collective talking. I believe if we worked together we could find a way forward for all concerned including farmers.”