Commercial Vehicles Firm Takes Over Forfar MartNeil Hardie
An Angus firm has come forward to acquire the premises of the historic Forfar Mart, which ceased trading last month.
In April it was confirmed by Forfar Mart operators Lawrie & Symington that sales of livestock would cease at Forfar Mart.
In a statement at the time, the directors blamed a 30% reduction in cattle throughput this year, coupled with rising operating costs.
The directors also said they recognised the history of the market at Forfar and what its closure would mean to the farming community.
The final sale of livestock took place at the beginning of May.
Now the five-acre site has been acquired by AM Phillip for an undisclosed sum. It will form part of the firm’s ongoing expansion.
The company plans to develop a proportion of the site into a dedicated vehicle preparation centre.
The remaining area is earmarked for future development, details of which are to be announced.
Lawrie and Symington said: “After significant interest from several parties in our site at Forfar, we are delighted to announce AM Phillip as our preferred bidder.
“They have a strong agricultural interest within the facility and we wish them well in
their future endeavours.”
With AM Phillip planning to only use part of the site, the firm says it is open to offers for buildings currently being used for The Mart.
Managing director Rob McWilliam said: “We’re going through an expansion.
“It’s to store our new vehicles prior to delivery. It will take the pressure off our workshops because they are bursting at the seams at the moment.
“It was an ideal opportunity for us.”
He said there are still legal details to be finalised before the sale is completed.
Mr McWilliam hopes to be on site by the end of the summer.
He added: “Once we get the keys we’ll be starting.
“The sheds will have some pens that are no use to us, but I’d like to think we can get up and running pretty quickly.
“I’d hope we’d be in by June or July at the latest. As soon as we get the keys, we’ll want to move because we’re bursting at the seams.
“We can start to operate without doing internal work.”
AM Phillip has also put forward ambitious proposals for a new headquarters at Orchardbank Business Park, beside the Forfar bypass and opposite the Angus House HQ of Angus Council.
Mr McWIlliam said the firm remains committed to those plans.
He added: “That should start seeing some light very soon.
“We’d like to see that move by the end of this month and start building as soon as possible.
“That’s a big project that will take the best part of 18 months to two years, so we need to get a spade in the ground.”
The acquisition follows AM Phillip’s development of a new showroom Glenrothes.
The acquisition of Forfar Mart will create about eight new jobs.
“We’re going through a recruitment programme company-wide at the moment,” Mr McWilliam said.
“We are looking for technical staff – mechanics are really difficult to get at the moment.”
Mr McWilliam, who took over as managing director about four years ago, plans to grow the business further in the years to come.
“We see the company going from strength to strength.
“We are covering the whole of Scotland for Iveco vehicles and parts, which is a big ask, and we’ve some other franchises coming on board.
“If an opportunity comes up, we’ll look at it.”
Forfar Mart in its current form was created in 1967. It was the last surviving in the Dundee and Angus area, which during the post-war period had six in operation.
Its Strathmore Hall has also been used for public events including the Forfar Farmers’ Market and even as a polling station.