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Long Bennington farmer condemns decision to demolish Newark Livestock Market

A farmer from Long Bennington has expressed his sadness at the decision to demolish Newark Livestock Market, and say that an entire community could be destroyed as a result.

Before it closed in March 2020, farmer Murray Arnold, of Long Bennington, would go to the market each week to socialise and buy and sell seed stock for his farm.

Now, Mr Arnold has no means to regularly socialise with friends and could be forced to travel the 1hr 20 minute journey to Selby in North Yorkshire to sell cattle.

Long Bennington farmers Murray Arnold, left, and William are deeply unhappy with the council's decision to demolish Newark Livestock Market
Long Bennington farmers Murray Arnold, left, and William are deeply unhappy with the council's decision to demolish Newark Livestock Market

Murray Arnold has worked his farm since the 1960s and, now in his seventies, would be unable to visit other cattle markets unless there was adequate seating available.

His son, William Arnold, expressed how destructive the decision to knock down the market could be for the local community and for the environment.

William, 36, said: “My father and I are really upset. We can’t understand why the council has gone with this because local farmers are now having to increase their carbon footprint by travelling longer to the other livestock markets.

“The main thing is that the livestock market was a central hub of a community and the environmental aspect of it, and the mental health aspect, of it was paramount. We’re all incredibly hurt.”

Planning permission to demolish the market on Great North Road was granted by Newark and Sherwood District Council in June.

It closed after disputes between the operators and the council as site owner that could not be resolved.

There are plans to build the nation’s first International Air and Space Training Institute (IASTI) in its place as part of a Newark Gateway site redevelopment made possible through £25m provided for this, and other projects, under the government’s Towns Fund.

Negotiations continue to have another livestock market at Newark Showground.

William doesn’t understand why there is a need for a pilot and groundcrew training school in the town.

He said a livestock market had been part of Newark for over 100 years and regularly provided employment for young farmers and a social space for older members of the community.

William did not think re-locating to the showground was a good decision for the farming community.

“By moving the cattle market onto the showground we are disconnecting the general public with farming methods,” he said.

Mr Arnold senior said: “I feel sick about it. I think it’s disgusting. I don’t know who would want to get rid of it. I think there should be more of an investigation into it.”

The pair are also unhappy with the way the matter has been dealt with by the NFU, and say they have received little support over the issue.

“District councillors and NFU have stood by and let this happen and we want to know why. We need some answers,” William said.

Andy Guy, county adviser for the NFU, said: “It’s a very, very disappointing situation to find ourselves in. This issue is something that I’ve been working on at some length since March last year. I’m not giving up the fight and continue to lobby anybody who I think can influence it.”

The district council was approached for comment.

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