HAILSHAM’S LIVESTOCK Market has been saved from all threats of development, claim campaigners.
The market dating back to 1252 has faced challenges by supermarkets wanting to move onto its site in Market Street during the past 15 years.
It was a real possibility that the market would have to move to another location in the area.
But South East Markets which operates the market has now bought the site’s freehold to stay at its current location – unless a better option becomes available in the future.
Roger Waters, director of South East Marts, said: “It’s great news that Hailsham Market is now on a firm footing, with the company that is operating the market also owning the market site.
“We want to improve the facilities here but the present market is functional, its future is secure and we can operate here very happily.
“We are still considering moving to a larger, more accessible site on the outskirts of Hailsham where we could create a new market and rural business centre, if it would be economically viable and the right consents could be gained.”
Dairy farmer Phil Hook, chairman of Hailsham Market Action Group, said it was the ‘dogged determination’ of campaigners which secured the market.
He said: “This is the best news that 2012 could bring the livestock farming community in and around East Sussex.”
Mr Hook paid tribute to retired solicitor David White, a Wealden District councillor and chairman of Hellingly Parish Council. He helped the Hailsham Market Action Group during the campaign.
Cllr White said: “The past 15 years have been traumatic, to say the least, but thankfully all that uncertainty is now at an end.
“People have been so supportive – farmers pledged more than £400,000 for the campaign to save Hailsham Market and we won the backing of MPs, peers and all tiers of local government.”
Gillian Van Der Meer, chairman of East Sussex NFU, said livestock farming mattered to the economy of the South East and Hailsham’s market played a vital role.
She said: “Once lost, infrastructure is almost impossible to replace. The NFU was determined not to lose Hailsham Market which is one of only two livestock markets in the region.
“Farmers maintain high animal welfare standards and a livestock market within easy reach is an essential trading facility, keeping food miles in check.”