OSWESTRY’S Livestock Market is losing business to its rival sites in Welshpool and Shrewsbury.
Councillors suggested this was the explanation as to why the number of animals passing through Smithfield Livestock Market and the site’s income had dropped, claiming the other two sites were more attractive to farmers because of their “state-of-the-art” facilities.
Between July and September 2011 almost 60,000 cattle were bought or sold at the site compared to just over 50,000 during the same period last year.
And over the whole of 2012 the market’s income was just over £7,000, down more than four grand from £11,300 in 2011.
Councillor Alan Davis said: “It does seem as though the Smithfield throughput and income is going down year-on-year.
“In the last full year there was quite a considerable downturn on the number of animals as well as income which is causing concern.”
But Cllr Cynthia Hawksley said: “I would hope that once we’re running a more modern market that will get better.”
Plans are in place to develop the cattle market as part of a wider regeneration of the Smithfield site to include new shops, restaurants and a cinema.
According to Cllr Hakwsley it had been hoped the cattle market would have undergone its redevelopment by now.
Cllr Martin Bennett agreed: “I suspect that if the planning process hadn’t taken so long the figures would’ve improved by now.
“I think it shows the age of the facilities compared to others.”
Cllr Peter Cherrington suggested the change could also be as a result of some farmers deciding to cut back on the amount of cattle they keep due to the increasing cost of overheads such as feed.
And Cllr Amanda Woof added: “The figures for January to March (this year) will be down because of the weather and the amount of sheep particularly that were lost.
“The beginning of the year was disastrous.
“And we’ve got to remember that the sooner we get the new Smithfield up and running the better because Welshpool and Shrewsbury are amazing so people are travelling there.”