RUGBY Farmers Mart (RFM) could be moved to make way for a new equestrian facility.
In a letter to shareholders and staff, the mart’s chairman Richard Heckford said an outline planning application for a new ‘state-of-the-art’ market had been submitted to the local authority.
The proposed new mart would be situated two miles from the current Stoneleigh Park site on the A46, in Gibbet Lane.
In the letter, seen by Farmers Guardian, Mr Heckford said Stoneleigh Park’s managing agent JLL had undertaken a strategic review of the site’s future following concerns HS2 would run through it.
While the mart was not within the curtilage of any HS2 affected land, FG understands the train line will affect some of the equestrian facilities.
The letter said: “Equestrian shows intended upon the park in the future together with its current equestrian operation are an integral part of the park’s income. For this reason, a proposal to use the current RFM site to rehouse such events has been put forward.”
But mart users, who asked not to be named, said they were sceptical about the construction of a new market.
One farmer who regularly attends said: “Farmers will rightly be very worried about potentially losing the mart.
“Who is to say after a viability study the local authority turns the application down? Then what?
“We would like to know who is going to pay for it and when it will be ready.”
FG understands JLL will pay for the new site. The firm is likely to receive some compensation from HS2.
If the plans do go ahead, the market could be 20 per cent bigger than the current one.
Mr Heckford said he would like the old market to close one day and the new site to open up the next day.
RFM was founded in 2006 by a group of 250 local farmers. It holds weekly Monday sales of prime and cull stock and bi-weekly sales of store cattle.
Special breeding sheep, suckled calf and store cattle fairs are also held seasonally, with penning for 900 store cattle.