South East Wales

Legal ruling expected over Abergavenny livestock market

The two sides in a long-running legal battle over Abergavenny livestock market are waiting for the verdict of a high court judge.

Campaigners took the Welsh government and Monmouthshire concil to a judicial review to stop the market closing and being moved to a site 10 miles away.

The market has been in use for more than 150 years.

Mrs Justice Davies heard the case sitting in Cardiff and is considering her verdict.

Campaign group Keep Abergavenny Livestock Market (KALM) wants to keep the market near the centre of town.

In order to close it, Monmouthshire council asked the Welsh government to repeal two sections of the 1854 Abergavenny Improvement Act, which requires the council to hold a market in the town.

KALM says Welsh ministers scrapped this act unlawfully.

A second judicial review challenges the local council over planning issues.

The council wants to close the market and open a new one near Raglan. It has already agreed to sell the site and given planning permission for a supermarket and library.

Farmer Sue Pritchard, a KALM supporter, said: "We are wanting to persuade the council to come back to the negotiating table to talk to that incredible cross-section of people within Abergavenny who want to talk about the future of this town with the livestock market at the heart of it."

But opinions in the market are divided.

Percy Jenkins, who buys lambs for export, said: "I don't mind where the market goes as long as we have got a market in Monmouthshire."

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Media captionAdrian Browne reports on the battle over Abergavenny market

Sheep and cattle farmer Martin Thomas said: "Once they put Morrison's on the site I think all the little independent businesses in Abergavenny will close."

Monmouthshire council deputy leader Bob Greenland defended the authority's decision to relocate the market away from the town centre.

"The site is far too small and we have to move the market for it to survive into the 21st century," he said.

"We also need a supermarket for the centre of Abergavenny and if we don't provide one here in the centre then it's certain there would be one on the outskirts and that would definitely kill the town."

The Welsh government declined to comment before the outcome of the judicial review.

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