SEVEN companies have shown an interest in wanting to build Holsworthy's new agri-business centre.
Work is expected to start on the complex, including a livestock market, in the new year.
CENTRE: Artist's impression of the aggri-business centre.
Two of the interested firms are national names, and the others better known in the South West.
The new centre will provide advice and support for the agricultural industry as well as being the regular livestock market and offices for auctioneers and other agricultural businesses.
The proposed site, north of Holsworthy, beside the A388, features the latest systems for lairage, pens and auction rings, with purpose-built pods for farm-related enterprise.
Eighteen acres around the centre are earmarked for development to generate jobs.
The project officer for the centre, Peter Quincy, said the companies which had contacted Torridge District Council about the tendering process showed strong interest and prices would soon be submitted to the community and resources committee so that building can start in 2013.
Meanwhile, an announcement by the farming minister Jim Paice about 1,100 new jobs for the South West, refers only to previous statements and is not new money.
He talked about a £2.9m investment while visiting the Earth Centre, site of one of 11 enterprise hubs for the Rural Growth Network in Somerset and Devon.
But although he said it was worth £58m to the region most people understood he was merely repeating a statement made in the spring.