North Dorset District Council today confirmed the sale of Dorset’s last cattle market site in Shaftesbury to Lidl has been completed.
Final confirmation of the sale, completed yesterday afternoon, came at just after 1pm.,
In a statement, Councillor Michael Roake, NDDC’s cabinet member for environment, said: ‘We are delighted to have concluded the sale of the cattle market to Lidl who plan to develop a much-needed store on the site.
‘This development will secure the regeneration of this high-profile site and provide much-needed facilities for the town, giving local people a wider choice of supermarkets. ‘This new supermarket will also bring new jobs and economic benefits to the town.’
Market activists blame Lidl – who have now revealed their plans for the site – for placing large concrete blocks at both entrances late yesterday to prevent public access to the car park area.
But Shaftesbury Town Council clerk Claire Commons said that as the sale to Lidl is now complete any rights for the public to use the car park area no longer exist.
‘As the sale has completed, all previous arrangements contained within the various leases are terminated,’ she said. ‘The parking arrangements reached by meeting and letter agreement have also been terminated through the issuing of a notice to quit by the auctioneers’ solicitor.’ She added that the concrete blocks at both entrances ‘will be for the supermarket to take up as owners of the land, that is supposing that they were not placed there by them.’
She did not say if the town council is now going to be in touch with Lidl to discuss opening the car park area to the public.
But Shaftesbury county and district councillor Derek Beer has now asked NDDC if it will negotiate with Lidl ‘to make available as many car parking spaces as possible to local people during the planning, consultation, and construction cycle’ of the supermarket.
He said: ‘I appreciate that this may involve a flexible approach, and indeed goodwill on both sides, but the vitality of Shaftesbury as a commercial centre is dependent on adequate car parking, and during these difficult times every effort should be made by the authority to sustain and protect our town centres.’