Market site fears
A LOUTH pressure group has given its reaction to a cattle market report, due to be considered by councillors next week.
East Lindsey District Council's Executive Board will meet on Tuesday to decide if the site on Newmarket should be marketed following the publication of a report by Chase and Partners.
The authority commissioned the £30,000 independent report to influence their decision of whether or not the site should be sold to a developer.
But the report has been criticised by community organisation Keep Louth Special.
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The report states that strong demand has been identified from all the main supermarket operators and that the minimum store size likely to be required is 3,717 to 4,182 square metres plus car parking.
Options for smaller retail units are discussed but concerns are raised this could replicate many of the town centre units.
The report also states that if the site is used solely for supermarket use, it could deliver a sale figure of between £7.5-million and £12.2-million.
A previous ELDC-commissioned report by ELDC, looking into the effects of a supermarket on the towns of Louth, Alford and Horncastle, felt that Louth had retail capacity for a food store of around 2,000 sq metres.
Nick Louth from Keep Louth Special, who have put forward alternative plans for the cattle market site, said: "This report makes all the same mistakes as the Nathaniel Litchfield Report, except it makes them bigger.
"It advocates a giant 40,000 square foot supermarket on the site of the cattle market. That's almost double the size NLP advocated, and the perfect way to kill off every small independent trader in the town.
"Lincolnshire's last cattle market will be pushed out to the industrial estate, where with, and I quote, 'minimum (roof) covering and no walls' it will be a shoddy structure. I wonder what the farmers will think.
"More than 5,300 people signed a petition to ensure that no supermarket comes to the cattle market site, and their voice has been entirely ignored.
"Neither is there any mention of the community-led alternative development, which KLS sent to the report's authors, and which would also give the council a commercial return."
Concerns that a decision on whether to sell the cattle market site has already been made were raised at last week's Louth Area Committee.
ELDC's overview committee have agreed to establish a scrutiny panel to consider the future of the market.
However, the scrutiny exercise would only be necessary if the Executive Board decides on Tuesday the site should be marketed.
Deputy Mayor for Louth, Andrew Leonard said he believes, by planning a scrutiny review for after the Executive Board meets, the council has revealed its plans for the future of the site.
He said: "By having the scrutiny review after the executive decision is made on whether to sell, they have answered their own question."
But ELDC spokesman James Gilbert reiterated no decision has been made and that if the scrutiny exercise goes ahead, the decision on who will be invited to take part will be made at the next meeting of the overview committee on October 30.
He said: "No decision has been made to sell the cattle market site.
"Any decision to do so would be a matter for full council.
"The district council has been carrying out a review of all the assets it owns to ensure they are delivering value for money to taxpayers across East Lindsey.
"A piece of independent advice was commissioned to inform a report which will go to the Council's Executive Board on October 15.
"This report will be to consider whether the Executive Board wishes for the site to be marketed so bids can come forward by developers, if there are any interested."