Hailsham livestock market saved for future

image captionHailsham market has been on its town centre site since 1867 but dates back to 1252

The future of the last surviving livestock market in Sussex has been secured after the company which runs it bought the freehold of the site.

South East Marts said Hailsham Market was finally on a firm footing after a 15-year fight to stop redevelopment of the town centre land.

Sainsbury's and Aldi supermarkets both tried but failed to get permission to build on the three-acre market site.

"We are really delighted," said Phil Hook of Hailsham Market Action Group.

"This is the only market in Sussex and we draw animals from Kent, Surrey, Sussex and into Hampshire.

Public inquiry

"There is so much livestock in the south and without this market the animals would have to travel.

"Salisbury is the nearest one in the west and Ashford in the east."

"At one time you didn't have to drive more than about 11 miles and there was another market."

The threat of supermarket development on the Market Street site ended after a public inquiry held in 2009 resulted in Aldi being refused permission.

Farmers and traders will be holding official celebrations to mark purchase of the freehold at the market on Wednesday.

In the longer term, South East Marts is considering either improving the existing facilities or moving to a larger site outside the town centre.

"We have got some breathing space now we know the market is secure," said Mr Hook.

"Now we can sit back and take the time to assess eveything."

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