Rising costs blamed for closure of Wisbech Auction Hall

John Maxey at the Wisbech Auction Hall which is closing ANL-150308-155520009
John Maxey at the Wisbech Auction Hall which is closing ANL-150308-155520009
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A Fenland auction hall will be closed later this year after the owners have blamed an increase in costs due to the new living wage.

Maxey Grounds & Co will hold their final sale at the Wisbech Auction Hall, in Cattle Market Chase, at the end of October.

Partners of the firm say the auction business will become “unsustainable” due to falling horticultural incomes and the introduction of the living wage.

The new compulsory living wage will be introduced in April next year and is initially set at £7.20 per hour.

A statement from the partners said: “It is with much regret that the partners of Maxey Grounds & Co announce the closure of the Wisbech Auction Hall. The final sale will be at the end of October.

“This decision comes on the back of the Government’s announcement in the last Budget of the introduction of the new National Living Wage which will substantially increase the costs of the auction business.

“This, together with the falling income from the horticultural element of the Auction Hall, will result in the auction business becoming unsustainable.”

The Auction Hall has played an important part in the history of Wisbech. The firm had been running auctions since the late 1800s, starting in the Old Cattle Market. General sales were held on “The Stones” in the Old Market, progressing to the original saleroom being opened in the 1950s on Chapel Road and then moving to the existing purpose-built premises in 1965.

Up to nine separate auctions a week were held with lots including fruit, antiques and poultry.

The firm will continue to hold farm machinery auctions.

No decision has been made on the building’s future.