Company history of South East Marts

A brief history of South East Marts.

South East Marts originated from Haywards Heath Market and a company called T. Bannister & Co., which was founded in 1866. In 1988 a restructuring took place with the formation of South East Marts and the joining up of Guildford, Hailsham, Heathfield and latterly Thame and Winslow Markets. 1990 saw the closure of Haywards Heath Market and the smaller market at Heathfield closed a few years later. In 1995 South East Marts became part of the ADM (UK) Ltd. Group, which is based in Eastbourne, East Sussex. The livestock auction industry was decimated by the BSE crisis back in the 1990’s, and market closures for twelve months during the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in 2001. The substantial development of central market sites has seen both Haywards Heath and Guildford Market close. Thame and Winslow market have been sold back to the farming community. Hailsham Market remains, providing an auction service to livestock producers in the south east. Hailsham Market is a traditional charter market, situated in Hailsham town centre, dating back to 1252, and we are proud to say that we are the only livestock market still running in Sussex today. Hailsham Market has a dedicated team of staff, with many years of experience under our belts. Not only do we run a twice-weekly livestock market, but we also excel ourselves with 'On-the-farm sales', where we run a very comprehensive service for our clients in conducting on-site sales. We also run periodic collective sales at Ardingly, Herstmonceux and Hailsham. Our sales team can sell 'Whatever, whenever, wherever!' 

January 2012:

Copy of press release sent to Farming and Local Press, Radio and TV.

Campaigners are celebrating the news that an historic livestock market has finally been saved from all threats of development. Hailsham Market, which traces its history to a Royal Charter of 1252, is on a town centre site in Hailsham, East Sussex. Since 1997, the market has faced repeated threats of closure from developers wishing to build a supermarket on its site.  But thankfully South East Marts, the operator of Hailsham Market, has finally been able to purchase the freehold of the market site in Market Street, Hailsham, ending more than 15 years of uncertainty over the market’s future. South East Marts director and auctioneer Roger Waters, who has been among those fighting for the market’s future, is delighted. He says: “It’s great news that Hailsham Market is now on a firm footing, with the company that is operating the market also owning the market site. We want to improve the facilities here but the present market is functional, its future is secure and we can operate here very happily. We are still considering moving to a larger, more accessible site on the outskirts of Hailsham where we could create a new market and rural business centre, if it would be economically viable and the right consents could be gained.” Hailsham Market Action Group chair Phil Hook, an organic dairy farmer from Hailsham and NFU member, says: “The dogged determination of all those campaigning to save Hailsham Market has really paid off. This is the best news that 2012 could bring the livestock farming community in and around East Sussex.”  Mr Hook pays tribute to the work of retired solicitor David White, now a Wealden District councillor, who has assisted the Hailsham Market Action Group at every step of the campaign. David White says: “The past 15 years have been traumatic, to say the least, but thankfully all that uncertainty is now at an end! People have been so supportive – farmers pledged more than £400,000 for the campaign to save Hailsham Market and we won the backing of MPs, peers and all tiers of local government.” East Sussex NFU chair Gillian Van der Meer, whose dairy farming family uses Hailsham Market, adds: “Livestock farming really does matter to this part of the South East and Hailsham Market is part of its vital infrastructure. Once lost, infrastructure is almost impossible to replace. The NFU was determined not to lose Hailsham Market which is one of only two livestock markets in the region. Farmers maintain high animal welfare standards and a livestock market within easy reach is an essential trading facility, keeping food miles in check.”

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