PLANS to build a supermarket on the site of the last cattle market in Dorset have been submitted.

Lidl completed the controversial £1.9 million purchase of the Shaftesbury market from North Dorset District Council earlier this year.

Campaigners had attempted to fight the deal through a High Court judicial review but judge Anthony Elleray ruled there was not an arguable case.

Now the German firm has submitted a planning application seeking permission to build a supermarket on the site.

It said as many as 40 full-time and part-time jobs could be created.

Southern Counties Auctioneers had run the market, leasing the site since 1967 – an agreement which would have remained in place until 2054.

North Dorset District Council had argued that a declining number of sales meant the market should be sold.

The decision was controversial with strong opposition from Shaftesbury Town Council and campaign group Justice for Shaftesbury.

The latter launched a bid for a judicial review into the deal but, in October, this was dismissed by the High Court.

The final cattle auction was held on January 10 and was followed by the completion of the sale of the site to Lidl on January 18.

A statement submitted on its behalf says it is “committed to the scheme” and has “every intention of delivering the proposal” having been looking to build a store in the town “for several years”.

“The application proposals will contribute towards improving customer choice, competition and accessibility to retail services within Shaftesbury and will deliver Lidl’s first representation within the town,” it says.

“The proposals are wholly in accordance with the government’s agenda for delivering sustainable development and will result in significant job creation on a logical retail development site.”

Demolition of buildings on the site was approved in March with the district council ruling it fell under permitted development rights.

It adds that, should planning permission be granted by the autumn, the supermarket could be open in 2020.

The planning application will be considered by Dorset Council, which took over the district council, in the coming weeks.