Dorset’s only traditional livestock market could be replaced with a budget supermarket.

The Shaftesbury Cattle Market could end after North Dorset District Council (NDDC) agreed to sell the site to what is believed to be a budget supermarket.

Southern Counties Auctioneers which run the market have leased the site off Christy’s Lane from NDDC since 1967, however, the livestock market in Shaftesbury has been going on since the 19th century and the existing market can trace its history back to 1902 when John Jeffery began an open-air market in Bell Street.

Currently, the market hosts dairy cattle sales periodically, as well as weekly calf and beef store sales, as well as an Aberdeen Angus show and sale takes place each April.

As previously reported, the site, located at Christy’s Lane, had been marketed covertly by NDDC and Southern Counties and had attracted bids from a number of providers of retail, hospitality and leisure services.

Now, the council announced it is going to be ‘a leading supermarket chain’ but did not reveal the name of it, however, Lidl are thought to be the store involved.

When approached for comment, a Lidl spokesman could not confirm the rumours but said: “We are in the process of exploring options to bring a Lidl store to Shaftesbury and look forward to sharing any confirmed plans with the community, as soon as we’re in a position to do so.”

Lidl would be the second supermarket in the town after Tesco, which has a store adjacent to Southern Counties.

However, the decision has been met with anger by some.

Shaftesbury Town Councillor Philip Proctor said: “To sell the cattle market site without any consultation with the people of Shaftesbury or this council is astounding.

“NDDC had a legal duty to consult the local community before it considered any sale.”

Mike Madgwick, Shaftesbury Civic Society chairman also shared concerns, added: “We are dismayed that such a strategically important site at the heart of our town has apparently been sold with no communication with our expanding community.”

“The decision is looking like a shockingly bad example of how localism is failing us.”

But others believe the decision is best for the town.

Cllr Michael Roake, briefholder for environment, believed it to be a “positive result for Shaftesbury” and that it gave people a “much-needed choice of supermarkets”.

A spokesman for Southern Counties Auctioneers, added: “The sale is going to take quite a while to sort so I can’t yet tell you when our final auction will be. As to whether or not the deal will give us what we want we’ll see. Everything’s with the solicitors at the moment.”