Plans revealed for multi-million agri-business centre with hotel and services near Launceston

21st January 2019
A site plan for the proposed agri-business centre, livestock market and service area development by Kivells

A site plan for the proposed agri-business centre, livestock market and service area development by Kivells at Kennard's House, which would be located beside the A30 near Launceston

Head Shot of Kivells Director Kevin Hicks

Director of Kivells, Kevin Hicks, is leading the project for the firm, which currently operates three of the region’s leading livestock markets

Black and white photo of cattle being sold at Launceston Livestock Market from early 1900

An archive image of cattle being sold at Launceston Livestock Market, which was held at Race Hill in the town centre every Tuesday before closing in 1987

Kivells, who run three of the region's top livestock markets, are behind the cutting edge development planned to be on the edge of the A30

By Athwenna Irons 11:12, 18 JAN 2019

Taken from the original article on Cornwall Live 

Plans for a new multi-million agri-business centre in Cornwall, with a state-of-the-art livestock market at its core and service station, have been announced.

Kivells has exclusively revealed to our sister title the Western Morning News its proposals for the cutting-edge development beside the A30 dual carriageway at Kennard’s House, near Launceston.

Director of Kivells, Kevin Hicks, said: “We’re proud of this proposal, as it’s something we’ve been working on for three to four years. I am confident this project will deliver a raft of benefits for not only our clients and the agri-business community as a whole, but also for the Cornish tourism industry and for ourselves as a firm in terms of employment and future prospects.
“We know from our experience of running agri-business centres that a livestock market draws a lot of interest from other key agricultural advisors, merchants and suppliers who want to be there on that day to ensure that farmers are able to optimize their valuable time away from the farm by accessing a wide variety of services.”
The proposals, which have been drawn up by Glenn Howells Architects, stem from the findings of a strategic study into the future needs of livestock marketing in Cornwall, undertaken in 2014 by the English Beef and Lamb Executive (EBLEX).

Mr Hicks said one of the findings of the report was the prudency of rationalising the livestock centres at Liskeard and Hallworthy in order to create a “flagship centre” capable of attracting sustainable levels of all types of store and breeding stock, with “strategic ease of access” to attract the equally needed critical levels of buyers from near and far.

“This proposal embraces this finding and is part of the trend towards larger regional markets, which can operate weekly or hold multiple sales each week and attract higher numbers of stock within a given class, which in turn attracts more buyers and increases the value of livestock being sold,” he explained.

“This proposed centre will ensure Launceston becomes a location option for a wide range of farming businesses keen to access the client attraction to a new strategic livestock centre.”

Plans for the 70-acre site, currently used for farmland and hosting the annual Launceston Agricultural Show in July, also include a trunk road service area with a petrol station, parking for cars, coaches and lorries and a boutique hotel.

In addition, a ‘Welcome to Cornwall’ monument would be erected in the far northern corner of the site, visible from the passing A30.

Given the strategic and central position of the development, with a balanced travel distance to all parts of Devon and Cornwall, Mr Hicks believes the incorporation of a service station will bring further opportunities to promote a wide range of local food and drink, creating an en-route destination stop for visitors to the region with a “truly special farm produce appeal”. Citing Gloucester Services as an example, which includes a successful farm shop, Mr Hicks said: “Kivells already work with a great number of the Cornish agri-businesses producing value-added food and drink products through their general livestock, property and machinery marketing operations within Cornwall. The focus on such products at the site will in part streamline supply chains, creating further efficiency for the local rural economy.

“You’ve only got to look at the increasing influx of people coming to Cornwall during the summer to know that the service area will be a valuable asset to the county.”

And the flow of visitors from all backgrounds to the service station may also present opportunities to strengthen links between farmers and consumers, Mr Hicks added, with the agri-business centre’s neighbouring position.

“Given the increasing disconnect between urban lives and farming lives these days, I think there may be a raft of opportunities there for us to sell the wonderful livestock rearing message of this area to those people, and there’s no better area for producing livestock than this.”

Mr Hicks added that Kivells is working closely with architects to keep the site’s cricket pitch, owned by South Petherwin Cricket Club, within the development. “We think it brings a wholesome feel to the service area,” he said.

The planned relocation of Hallworthy Market, currently nine miles off the arterial A30 route, into the new centre would help to reduce the extent of heavy traffic squeezing through the narrow section of the A395 at nearby Piper’s Pool on market days, and also decant some traffic from the sensitive areas of Newport, St Stephens and Pennygillam in Launceston.

In terms of employment, Mr Hicks is confident that the new development would not only lead to growth within the Kivells firm, but also provide further jobs in the agri-business centre and trunk road service area. Residents of nearby villages including South Petherwin, Altarnun and Piper’s Pool would also likely benefit from the creation of jobs.

He also hopes the project will benefit nearby Launceston and re-establish its “gateway to Cornwall” and market town profile, as well as strengthening the employment offer of the area. Originally held at Race Hill every Tuesday, a combination of changing trading practices and ever-larger livestock transporters saw Launceston Livestock Market close in 1987.

“Launceston is the gateway to Cornwall and Devon, with all roads in and out pivoting on the town’s strategic position – an ever more important factor as transport lorries and farm transport vehicles increase significantly in size,” said Mr Hicks.

“The delivery of this strategic development will re-establish Launceston as a market town and strengthen the ability of local rural businesses to access national markets, whilst keeping alive the only truly transparent open market method of trading livestock, giving confidence and ensuring return of full value to the area’s livestock producers.”

This new development, which if approved could see building start within the next three years, follows on from the opening of Holsworthy’s £6 million state-of-the-art market and agri-business centre in September 2014, which has blossomed into one of the leading auction centres in the South West and welcomes around 500 people every Wednesday.

“Holsworthy was a game-changer for the South West,” concluded Mr Hicks. “This is a slightly different scenario here, because of the strategic position alongside the arterial route for Cornwall and Devon. It’s something we have long dreamt of and planned, but you can only do these things as opportunities present themselves.

“We’ve been alive to the opportunity for some considerable time, but we do gauge that now is the right time to bring this forward.”