Coun Grist released a statement this afternoon (Thursday), following the ‘Facebook Live’ broadcast that he carried out alongside ELDC leader Coun Craig Leyland yesterday evening in which they both expressed their preference for Option 3 - to retain and refurbish the current Cattle Market site.
In today’s statement, Coun Grist said: “The future of the Livestock Market in Louth has been the subject of great debate over the last few weeks.
“As an Executive Board Member at ELDC, I, along with my colleagues, quite rightly made a commitment not to express personal opinion or try to influence the debate during the period of public consultation.
“Earlier today the results of the consultation have been published along with the Officer report which sets out the various options for approval.
“I am grateful to everyone who has contacted me to put forward their point of view. In particular there has been an overwhelming response from the agricultural community to retain a local livestock market, whilst highlighting the potentially catastrophic impact that any closure would have on the farming industry and our local communities.
“As ELDC Portfolio Holder for Market Towns and the Rural Economy, and representing a large rural area close to Louth (Legbourne Ward), I will always support decisions that help farming, boost the local economy and protect our rural way of life.
“To this end I am minded to support a ‘hybrid’ version of Option 3 - namely to retain the Cattle Market at the current site and to explore possibilities as to how the whole site could be better utilised in the future.
“The Cattle Market is located on a large site - ELDC needs to find a way to best use the land and the buildings for the benefit of all in East Lindsey.
“A livestock market held one morning each week is clearly not sustainable going forward, and we must find a way of ensuring the site is put to better use more often.
“The key decision however is to ensure that Lincolnshire’s last remaining livestock market is retained. The uncertainty around its future has rumbled on for far too long – it is time to make a full and final decision for the benefit of all involved.”
Coun Grist added: “At Council in October there will be no doubt be a lively debate - it is my hope that Option 3 is preferred, and that a majority of my colleagues at ELDC are minded to vote for the retention of a Livestock Market which will send a clear message of support to the wider farming industry.”