The largest livestock market in Wales will be opened in Welshpool on Friday, helping to safeguard the future of the rural economy in mid-Wales.
Privately-owned J Ross Developments, part of the Pickstock Group, has delivered the largest one-day livestock market in Wales for Welshpool Livestock Sales three months early and on budget.
The unveiling ceremony will be held at the new multi-million pound livestock market in Welshpool, which resulted from a significant investment boosting both Welshpool’s and the UK’s livestock trade.
The 149,000 sq ft new market replaces the Smithfield market in the town centre. The new market will be at nearby Buttington Cross on a 16-acre site on the edge of town, allowing easier access for vehicles transporting livestock.
The space taken up by Smithfield market in the town centre will be redeveloped by J Ross and Tesco into a retail park. The first phase will be anchored by a 25,000 sq ft (sales) Tesco, and work is likely to start in the New Year.
The new livestock facility will be owned and operated by Welshpool Livestock Sales and is modern, environmentally friendly and bio-secure by design.
John Jones, of Welshpool Livestock Sales, said: "The new market is an investment in the livestock industry and the rural way of lifeand will keep Welshpool on the map. The market could not have come about without Pickstock Group, which has the expertise and financial resources to manage the development and construction process from beginning to end. "By releasing Smithfield market for retail development we hope it will revitalise the town centre and bring new investment to the town – a real win-win situation."
Spencer Cooper, a director of J Ross Developments, said: "We are delighted to be launching one of the largest livestock markets in Europe just an hour after saying goodbye to the town centre Smithfield market. This is the result of several years of hard work in partnership with Welshpool Livestock Sales in designing this new facility, which we hope will be a platform for WLS to continue flourishing in the future.
"The development has been made possible by the financial strength and development expertise of the Pickstock Group, the parent company of J Ross, which has allowed us to deliver the new market three months early and on budget – even in the current financial climate.
"By freeing up the Smithfield market site, we have been able to create a more sustainable centre for the town through its retail-anchored redevelopment. This will help towards reversing a significant loss of trade to this historic town.
"The team has pulled together and worked closely with Welshpool town council, Powys Council and local MP Lembit Opik, as well as regional and national politicians to deliver a project that safeguards the future of the regional economy."
Robert Robinson, clerk to Welshpool Town Council, said: "This development will kickstart a number of regeneration projects that we are currently helping to deliver, such as refurbishing the Norman castle and the Victorian market, and returning the historic open-air market to Broad Street."