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UK’s Forfar Mart Closure Sparks Outcry Among Local Farmers, Since its final sale on May 3

Forfar-Mart
Caption (description) Forfar auction mart. Picture shows; Forfar Mart, Saturday 30th September 2017.

Forfar Mart supporter hits out at Lawrie and Symington

In a turn of events that has left the farming community disheartened, the historic Forfar Mart recently ceased trading, a development that one of its staunchest supporters, Margaret Wilson of Greenhead Farm, attributes to what she calls Lawrie and Symington’s discreet move to shutter the auction centre.

For Margaret, whose roots run deep in Forfar Mart’s legacy, this closure carries a profound disappointment. She places the blame squarely on the Lanark-based auctioneering company, critiquing their sluggishness in the process of divesting the site.

Since the final gavel fell on May 3rd, the keys only exchanged hands last Friday, when AM Phillip, the new proprietor, assumed control. Rob McWilliam, the Managing Director of AM Phillip Trucktech, expressed hopes for a swift transition, ideally setting up operations in the new facility by June or July.

With a touch of palpable frustration, Mrs Wilson voiced the sentiments of local farmers, asserting, “Local farmers feel very let down by the way this has all been handled—the closure of the mart has affected the whole community.

AM Phillip Trucktech is poised to repurpose a portion of the site, designating it as a specialised vehicle preparation centre and storage space. However, a distinct parcel earmarked for future development leaves open the possibility of leasing the primary mart area to another party.

We know another auctioneering company is very interested in using the facility, but I reckon Lawrie and Symington were frightened another auctioneering company would come in and do a better what is tren job than they did,” Mrs Wilson mused, hinting at a competitive undercurrent in the industry.

For many, the prospect of resurrecting the mart holds immense appeal. Mrs. Wilson expressed a collective sentiment: “There are many of us who would most certainly be in support of the mart making a return. The area needs a market for future generations.

Sandy Phillip, director of AM Phillip Trucktech, offered insight into their forthcoming plans, stating, “We have only just received the keys, so we still need a few weeks to sort out plans on the remaining areas. We just need time.

In the wake of Forfar Mart’s closure, some of its erstwhile patrons have redirected their business to other Scottish marts, including the Longtown Mart operated by C and D Auction Marts. Others, however, have opted to sell prime stock directly to local butchers.

James Thompson of Fleming Butchers in Arbroath reflected on the shift, noting, “We have continued to purchase directly from local Angus farms, but this can only be done fortnightly now, resulting in us having to source cattle and lambs at markets outside the area to keep a steady, consistent supply for our customers.”

Another butcher weighed in, deeming the closure of Forfar “completely awkward” for procuring stock and attributing the mart’s unviability to Lawrie and Symington.

In response, Andrew Steele, director of Lawrie and Symington, countered the claims, asserting, “There is no way Lawrie and Symington have stopped any other auctioneering company from acquiring Forfar Mart. The door has always been open. I told several farmers that they could contact AM Phillip with proposals, and to my knowledge, nobody has contacted them. Lawrie and Symington emptied the facility last week, including the office, so the company no longer has any involvement in the site.”

This lamentable chapter in Forfar Mart’s history resonates deeply with the local community, serving as a stark reminder of the delicate balance between tradition and progress in the agricultural landscape.

As the future of this beloved institution hangs in the balance, the fervent hope of many lies in its revival, not only to preserve its status as a market town but also to safeguard the livelihoods of the dedicated local farmers who have borne the brunt of additional costs in transporting their livestock to distant markets.

 


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