The owners of the abattoir, which has served farmers from Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and beyond since the 1920s, announced it was due to close at the end of January, the latest in a long line of casualties in the small abattoir sector.
The Save Long Compton Abattoir Steering Group described this as a is a ‘devastating blow’.
“Long Compton is one of the last small abattoirs in the region. Without a thriving local abattoir, our farm businesses, conservation work, meat retail, food system and rural economy all become less sustainable. Animal welfare is at risk and food miles will increase,” they said.
“With the future of all our other local abattoirs hanging in the balance, it is vital we ensure Long Compton remains in operation.”
They said there was ‘significant momentum to find a solution’. The Steering Group is seeking to attract a combination of private and public funding, via a new private company, to purchase the freehold site and business, and to ‘improve the abattoir for the benefit of all’.
Long Compton Abattoir currently has a customer base of over 900 with a turnover of £1m, processing 25-30 beasts, 100 pigs and 180 lambs per week, but currently working at a reduced capacity. The group stressed that there is potential to increase this considerably with customer demand due to the fact that the future of many other small abattoirs is uncertain. The site also includes residential properties, business units and a restaurant.
They have already facilitated a site visit by a professional abattoir advisor, who deemed that it is fit for purpose without major investment, and commenced initial negotiations with the current owner.
They have submitted a successful funding application for £10,000 for help with the development of a business plan, sought funding from Cotswold AONB and Warwickshire County Council and liaised with a number of potential investors.
The group has launched a campaign website and investor appeal, and are proposing setting up a new limited company and funding the purchase of the site, and business by selling shares in multiples of £1,000.
“We will need to raise in excess of £3m, at pace,” the group said. “We are thus, in the first instance, seeking expressions of interest (not your final commitment) from potential investors like you, big and small. If successful we can then progress to the next stage of negotiation.”
They are keen to hear from interested parties, preferably before February 5. The group will also be hosting open evenings so potential investors can source more detail about project, possible returns on investments and next steps.
They said: “Without your support, Long Compton will close and stay closed. This is your chance to join an exciting community-led project and be part of the success story. Join us!”