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Caithness News Bulletins July 2006
5 July 06
Thurso Auction Mart To Close
It was announced today by United auctions that as part of a strategic re-organisation, that that the seasonal livestock mart at Thurso is to close in November.
In recent times only one person has been employed at the mart in Thurso and some casual labour when sale was being held.
This follows the company’s recent disposal of its 30 per cent shareholding in Dingwall and Highland marts. The company is making a £350,000 investment in new facilities at Huntly and is proposing to invest some £10 million in a new mart at Stirling.
The usual programme of sales is planned for the autumn - End of November or early December.
As well as a direct marketing service the company will hold special sales for Caithness stock at Huntly. A significant proportion of stock in Caithness traditionally moves to Aberdeenshire and Huntly has good lairage facilities.
The area in the far north of Scotland is also serviced by the mart at Quoybrae, the new mart at Dingwall and by the Caithness Livestock Breeders marketing group.
A combination of a rationalisation in the market, online auctions and direct sales to supermarkets and other buyers has meant that many marts are no longer used or required as they once were.
News of the closure of the Thurso auction mart at the end of the season has been met with shock by Far North MSP Jamie Stone.
Mr Stone, the constituency MSP for the area, is now raising the matter with the Scottish Rural Development Minister as a matter of urgency and is seeking a meeting with all the parties concerned.
Commenting today, Mr Stone said: "This news has come as a bolt out of the blue. "The Thurso mart is an important employer in the community and plays a key role in the Far North region. Many local people will be shocked and disappointed at its loss.
"I am now trying to establish what consultation took place with the local enterprise board and Highland Council prior to this closure decision.
"I am also bringing this to the attention of Ross Finnie, Scotland's Rural Development Minister, today and I will be seeking a meeting with all the parties concerned at the earliest opportunity.
"I want to ensure that all possible avenues for finding a positive way forward are explored."