Brief explanatory Note:
Ryedale's Local Plan is the most controversial local plan I have ever known.
Ryedale District Council is controlled politically by people who seem to have no sympathy with the countryside or country market towns. As seen below, it took them five years before they finally decided to back local farms and villages against the Environment Agency on the flooding issue.
Now they have used the Local Plan as a means to catastrophically change Malton/Norton into something like Monks Cross - a little city.
Because they are mesmerised by the attractions of city life, they behave as though they think our country towns are backwaters inhabited by woolly backs. In some ways, it is as though Ryedale has been taken over by aliens from another planet.
In 2005, they put up car park fees to a level which few Malton shoppers were ever likely to pay. There was a fees trial for lower fees. This was evaluated late, and the evaluation was found to be wrong by a Scrutiny investigation. This did not stop Ryedale putting long stay car park fees up in full knowledge that this would discourage most people from using Wentworth Street car park - see below.
So then they looked for a new use of Wentworth Street car park - as a supermarket - even though they had been told by two consultants what most people knew anyway: there just isn't enough room for another supermarket in Malton in the short term.
Council leader, Keith Knaggs dismissed the figures which the Consultants had used as: "What nonsense!" The planners, referring to these figures, said that retail capacity for convenience products is only one of many material considerations, and that "overprovision may be the way forward". Councillor Keith Knaggs had, in January 2008, stated to a full meeting of Business in Action that he never used Malton shops, as the "quality of the town's retail offer" was not good enough for him.
From the point of view of local business, with a friendly administration such as this, who needs enemies?
Regardless of the consultants' views, the Council granted planning permission for an extension of Morrisons in Malton,a new Lidl in Norton, and a new TESCO express at Kirby Moorside.. They have readily accepted the advice that the Morrisons extension and the new Lidl, developments comprising over 18,000 sq. ft net sales area would generate no more than 35 additional traffic movements at Butcher's Corner on Saturdays!
In 2010 they approved a new Aldi in Norton comprising 1,200 sq.m. net sales area. This has not been built.
They also put Wentworth Street Car Park up for sale by tender. A tender by GMI Holbeck was accepted by the Council, following a Council meeting of 17th November 2010, the sale was "subject to planning"..
One might have thought they would have had some plan in mind for dealing with the new road traffic likely to be generated by the proposed new supermarket on Wentworth Street car park or the proposals for an alternative development of the Cattlemarket by the Malton Estate Company (See link below). The obvious solution would have been to make the bridge of the Broughton Road over the A64 into a four way grade separated motorway intersection. Instead they agreed the proposals of Malton School to lay out a multi use games area in a position which would effectively block one of the proposed slip roads.
On housing the position is even more of a disaster.
For years new housing has been controlled by restricting new houses within defined village or town development limits. The Council has now abandoned this policy by restricting full market price new housesto the market towns and service villages, and imposed a 50% share of this on Malton/Norton, when these towns have less than 28% of Ryedale's population - a policy which is far from fair on Malton/Norton.A document produced by the Council suggests that the actual figure they have in mind is 2,165 new houses for Malton/Norton (two thirds of all new housing in the district for the next 15 years), although the Council say the figure is only 1,500.
Meanwhile, house builders will only be allowed to build houses within the village development limits of the non-service villages, if a condition is attached restricting occupation to people with a local connection to Ryedale only. This would reduce the value of new houses by at least 10%. This might work in the National Park, but will clearly discourage house builders from building in villages in the rest of Ryedale.For those of us who are interested in the continuing vitality of our villages and the viability of local pubs and the few village shops and other facilities that remain, this should be a cause for serious concern.
On highways, please give your fullest attention to this article. It will be seen that Ryedale has produced a "Strategic Transport Assessment" which is politically driven and fundamentally flawed. Reports were produced by Allan Martin and myself which showed that the minimum impact of the Council's proposals would be to increase local traffic by 18,760 new vehicular trips per day. Allan Martin is
the former area highways surveyor who was responsible for advising on development control for an area wider than Ryedale for over 30 years. He retired 10 years ago.
The Local Plans Hearing. The Council produced their local plan to an inspector in 2012. The Council's documents were voluminous and badly flawed, but the inspector was not interested in this, as he was clearly under pressure to get the plan approved. The hearing lasted twelve days, and I attended every day of the hearing. I produced several documents most of which are reproduced here. In approving the plan, the inspector took no notice of the Malton and Norton Neighbourhood Plan which had been the subject of extensive local consultation, of a report by former Highways Surveyor Allan Martin (which showed that the Council's local plans proposals would create 28,760 new vehicular trips per day) or of a damning report on sewerage and drainage by a professional engineer who is very familiar with the district. The inspector approved the plan subject to a few minor alterations. This is appalling, and there needs to be a campaign to get the plan changed.