BY Debbie James

Livestock auctions could soon return to Carmarthen martground as the site owner is hunting for a new operator.

BJP Marts Ltd had run the martground for many years but it has been closed since July 2020, leaving some farmers owed thousands of pounds for stock they had sold there.

There was concern that it would never re-open as a mart amid rumours that the site would be used for retail but Carmarthenshire County Council has confirmed that it is now looking for a new leaseholder.

The authority intends to offer the lease by open-market tender and is urging interested businesses to get in touch.

Applicants must demonstrate proposals for a “progressive and forward-looking regional livestock market’’, it said, operating regular livestock auctions and managing all ancillary functions including sub-letting of concessions, catering functions, and business units.

Carmarthen mart is a traditional and prominent fixture in West Wales’ vibrant agricultural industry.

The site has a purpose-built modern building, with two auction rings and associated livestock pens for cattle, sheep and pigs.

Ten associated business units are occupied by agricultural supply and service companies.

David Jenkins, the council’s executive board member for resources, said the authority was “absolutely committed’’ to supporting Carmarthenshire’s farming community and rural economy and recognised the important role the Carmarthen mart had to play in that.

“This is an exciting opportunity - as well as operating this busy mart, we hope to attract applicants that will also look at wider opportunities to create a viable and sustainable enterprise. We very much look forward to seeing the mart operating again.”

The council’s Rural Business Development Centre could also be included within the lease, Mr Jenkins added.

The last advertised sale at Carmarthen was on July 3, 2020, when a monthly sale of breeding cattle, organic cattle, stock bulls and weaned calves was held.