His­toric mar­ket to close af­ter land sale is agreed

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - RHIANNON MCDOWALL

CHELFORD Mar­ket is to close af­ter more than a hun­dred years in the vil­lage.

The bustling mar­ket, which sees thou­sands of pounds worth of cat­tle pass through its gates each week, is set to shut its doors at the end of March af­ter land­lords agreed the sale of the land for hous­ing.

The move will re­sult in the loss of ‘a num­ber’ of jobs and will see pro­duce grown in Mac­cles­field taken 50 miles to Beeston, near Not­ting­ham to be sold. Gwyn Wil­liams, from Wright Mar­shall, said they are ‘bit­terly dis­ap­pointed’ they have not been able to se­cure a new site for the his­toric mar­ket.

He said: “We’ve been try­ing to find an al­ter­na­tive site for 16 years. We have found a num­ber of sites which we be­lieve would have been suit­able, un­for­tu­nately we have not been able to se­cure one.

“We are still look­ing, and we are still in ne­go­ti­a­tions with an­other site and in con­ver­sa­tions with Cheshire East Coun­cil - who have been very sup­port­ive - but un­for­tu­nately our lease at Chelford has come to an end and our fi­nal mar­ket will be in March. Un­for­tu­nately it’s in­dica­tive of what’s hap­pen­ing in the ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try. It’s go­ing to have a mas­sive im­pact on our cus­tomers, but we are go­ing to do ev­ery­thing we can to en­sure our Chelford cus­tomers con­tinue to get the best ser­vice.”

Chelford Mar­ket’s land­lords have en­tered into a con­di­tional con­tract to sell the site to a devel­op­ment com­pany which re­quires va­cant pos­ses­sion of the site prior to sub­mit­ting a de­tailed plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion for hous­ing which is yet to be sub­mit­ted.

Wright Mar­shall will hold its last sale in Chelford on March 30 when the ex­ist­ing busi­ness - which in­cludes the trade of an­i­mals, pro­duce and plants and shrubs - will be re­lo­cated to the firm’s other Auc­tion Cen­tre at Beeston Cas­tle.

Keith Bright­more, from the Mac­cles­field branch of the Na­tional Farm­ers Union, said it was the end of an era for lo­cal farm­ers.

He said: “Chelford has been open for more than 100 years and it’s al­ways been part of the lo­cal farm­ing life.

“It will be a real loss for peo­ple. There’s a lot of sad­ness be­cause it’s been a huge part of the lo­cal farm­ing scene.

“Peo­ple used to go even if they weren’t sell­ing things it is the so­cial as­pect that you lose as well, meet­ing all your mates. It was a busy, busy place.”

Chelford mar­ket is clos­ing af­ter more than a cen­tury

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