WORK to build a new livestock market near Raglan will begin in the coming weeks.

Monmouthshire council's leader, Councillor Peter Fox made the admission during a meeting of senior members, farmers, auctioneers and livestock buyers on the site at Bryngwyn on Tuesday.

The controversial scheme will see Abergavenny Livestock Market closed to make way for a Morrisons supermarket and library and re-locate the market to a 27-acre site at Bryngwyn, which the council bought at auction five years ago.

Cllr Fox said: "It has been a long haul to get to this point but with no legal impediment preventing us building our new Monmouthshire livestock market we shall be making a start over the coming weeks. "I am confident that if you are here this time next year you will see a fully operational livestock market on this site."

Chairman of Abergavenny and Newport Auctioneers, Lyndon Trumper added: "After many years of discussion we are on the verge of witnessing a modern market livestock facility which is so important to the farmers of south-east Wales."

Stuart Wilcock, of Bryngwyn Rural Action Group, claims the site will not provide a state-of-the-art facility the farmers deserve and urged the council to re-consider.

"The farming community are asking for a facility like the superb Sedgemoor Auction Centre, Somerset. This location offers full livestock sales facilities, plus a farmers health centre, solicitors, vets, hairdressers, NFU Mutual, Retail outlets and Restaurant, full Conference facilities, exhibition centre, farmers markets, car boot sales and even roller discos."

"The council want to spend £5 million of tax-payers money on a second-rate facility when the private sector could provide so much more, in a better location."