THREE years of research and planning have culminated in proposals for a major visitor attraction at Hawes auction mart.

Plans for the scheme, which would include a caf, training theatre, exhibition space and community areas, will be discussed by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority on Tuesday.

Officers have recommended approval, if amended plans are drawn up to ensure windows do not overlook nearby homes. No letters of objection have been received and the proposals are supported strongly by Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council.

The new building would replace the mart office and other buildings, together with some farmland to the east.

It would include a caf, training theatre, sales and exhibition areas, sport and leisure facilities, community space and temporary stock pens. Trading in the sales ring would be unaffected.

A rotunda entrance with stone buttresses is proposed and planners say the design incorporates a mix of modern elements, which meets the provisions of the local plan.

They are satisfied the development will not harm the environment and will provide opportunities for residents, visitors and the auction business.

Hawes Auction Mart Company first proposed a major redevelopment of the site following the 2001 foot-and-mouth outbreak, which crippled businesses in the dales.

Maurice Hall, mart manager, said huge benefits were available from visitors' fascination with the sights and sounds of the market.

A £100,000 feasibility study, funded by Barclay's Bank and Yorkshire Forward, began in January 2003. It examined how the mart site might be developed to help the community and the economy of the upper dale.

The scheme is expected to safeguard, or create, 50 jobs; attract five new businesses and support the creation of 200 learning places.