Councillors approve Hatherleigh market's closure

Cattle at Hatherleigh's market
Image caption Campaigners argued the market was the "soul" of the town

Plans to close and demolish an ancient Devon cattle market and build more than 100 houses on the site have been approved.

West Devon Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the scheme for Hatherleigh.

Campaigners had argued the market was the "soul" of the town.

Alongside the houses, the project would see a new area of public space allowing the town's general market on a Tuesday to continue.

The family which owned the cattle market said with livestock numbers dropping, it was no longer viable.

Planning consultants have been brought in to work with the council and local people to develop the scheme.

Richard May, the agent representing the owners, said: "We've got it right after four years of consultation.

"The market will remain and go forward. Towns need to evolve and change. We want the market to be the centre of the scheme."

Royal charter

West Devon Borough Council said the proposed scheme would help to address an increase in housing need in the borough.

About 10% of the proposed homes will be affordable.

Planners described the scheme, which also includes a small supermarket, as "good and appropriate".

Local newsagent Nick Lang-Taylor, said while it was a "scary and massive" change, on the whole he believed it was a positive one.

However, Neil Pryce, a resident who has campaigned against the proposal, said: "Once a week the town comes alive. You can buy anything from a duck to a loaf of bread.

"The market is the soul of Hatherleigh. The plan has 230-odd parking spaces. Last week we counted 435 cars in the car park.

"We don't mind change, but we don't want revolution."

The charter for a weekly market in Hatherleigh was granted by Henry III in 1220, according to the town's community website.

Over the centuries a variety of auctions have been held at the market including cattle, sheep, poultry and more recently machinery sales.

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