At the 2011 election I  promised to fight against the proposed Wentworth Street Car Park superstore and also against the Council’s plans to build 1,500 new houses in Malton/Norton.


This year has been a mix of outcomes for Malton, some good and some bad. There has been endless conflict between the district council and local residents in Malton and Norton. The town has been fortunate in having the Fitzwilliam Estate as a major stakeholder in the community. I don’t agree with everything they do, but they do have the resources to take on the Council. This does help  when their interest coincides with the interest of local business and the local community. So the town has welcomed the success of the Estate in their recent planning appeal on the Cattle Market Site. This effectively prevents the building of a new superstore at Wentworth Street Car Park. Without the Estate, nobody would have had the resources to stand in Ryedale’s way.


We now have to find a new site for the livestock market.


Unfortunately this is not the end of the superstore issue, because if  Ryedale cannot achieve what they want  on the basis of the merits, they will try another route through the draft district plan.


Opposition to the building of 2,000 new houses at Malton/Norton has not been supported by the inspector at the Local Plans hearing.  The outcome could be particularly bad for the residents of Old Malton, because the draft district plan, if rubber stamped by the inspector, gives the green light for the development of the land adjacent to Eden Camp at Riggs Road/Eden Road, possibly for housing. Residents will recall the concern about flooding when the Council proposed warehousing development there in 2007.


With the market as it is, it is unlikely that many new houses will be built very soon. However, this will not stop developers seeking planning permission in anticipation of better times ahead. It is not impossible to reverse the present decision, and residents should continue to campaign to get the district plan changed.


More details about the district plan are set out below.


On a much more positive note, our team at the Milton Rooms has been brilliantly successful in making the most of this historic building, after it had been written off for many years. All that was needed to bring life back to this facility was a team of professionals who know the business of theatres and shows. In Garry Cooper and Nick Bagnal, we now have that professional team, and Malton has been privileged to have the world premiere performance of “A Christmas Fair”, which I thought was a wonderful treat, full of Christmas spirit.


Meanwhile, Ryedale not content with trying to sell off Wentworth Street Car Park, has decided to sell the building which functions as Norton’s community hall – the Bowling Centre. Over the years Ryedale has paid £51,000 for this building and received rental income of £400,000. Its current value is estimated as £400,000. Investing this money at 2% would yield a return of £8,000 pa. Yet Ryedale would rather sell this building than receive a return of £10,000 rent a year. So selling the building harms the community and makes no financial sense. It is yet another example of a Council which is totally insensitive to local opinion.

There is a campaign to save the Bowling Centre. Please support.


One has to ask why we have to have all this conflict. The answer appears to be that the district is run by a political group which is dominated by people who live in the rural areas and have no love or interest in Malton and Norton. Every effort needs to be made to bring these councillors to their senses.


I wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.


Notes on the position regarding the district plan and the supermarket issues.


Straightaway after the election, Malton and Norton Town Councils carried out a public consultation on their ideas for a neighbourhood plan. No leading questions were asked, but the results were overwhelming in favour of a new store on the Cattle Market Site, against redeveloping Wentworth Street Car Park and against more than one thousand new homes in Malton/Norton.


Ryedale District Council has ignored the results of the election and of the public consultation. They delayed consideration of the Fitzwilliam Estate’s proposals for the redevelopment of the Cattle Market, turned that application down and granted permission for a huge new superstore at Wentworth Street. They thought the Secretary of State would not intervene, and so nobody could stop them – whatever the planning merits. The Estate appealed against the refusal of the Cattle Market application, and at the hearing of the appeal, the Council’s consultant was forced to agree in cross-examination that permission for Wentworth Street Car Park was against national policy and that the Council could not lawfully issue the permission without first going back to committee and being given the right advice.


One might have thought this was the end of the issue. However, the Council’s District Plan designates both Wentworth Street Car Park and the Cattle Market as part of a “Northern Arc”, where new commercial development can be allowed. The Estate say that none of the quality supermarkets (Waitrose, Booths, M&S etc) are unlikely to take the Cattle Market site while there is a continuing threat (however slight) of a new superstore at Wentworth Street. The Council have accordingly refused to take Wentworth Street Car Park out of the Northern Arc – perhaps deliberately so as to prevent the Cattle Market redevelopment and give them a second chance at Wentworth Street. The inspector at the hearing into the District Plan is not prepared to force the Council to delete the “Northern Arc”, even though he concedes that there is little evidence to justify it. So the superstore war is not over yet.


As regards the housing issue, I spent ten days at the hearing into the draft District Plan representing the ward. It soon became apparent that the Council’s proposals are not for 1,500 new homes, but for over 2,000. This is because there has to be added to the 1,500, a 20% buffer (300 houses) and half of a notional backlog (over 500 houses). This number roughly coincides with the 2,165 recommended in a document called the “Strategic Transport Assessment” (STA for short). This document prepared by consultants uses flawed data. It concludes that 2,165 new houses, 80% of all new employment development and traffic from a huge new superstore will have no unacceptable impact on junction capacity.


 Malton’s Town Clerk and the Mayor explained the Neighbourhood Plan to the inspector with its recommendation of 1,000 new houses.


The inspector has issued his interim report. He has completely ignored my arguments and completely ignored the Neighbourhood Plan. He has given no explanation for his conclusions. He seems to see his role as no more than ensuring that the overall number of new homes in Ryedale should be increased beyond the figure proposed by Ryedale. The outcome is that Ryedale will have to accept a 25% “buffer” instead of a 20% buffer. There is still time to get the Council and the inspector to change their minds. The consequences of this going ahead will be a disaster for Malton/Norton, particularly as it gives the green light for the development of the Riggs Road, Eden Road site adjacent to Eden Camp, which has flooding implications for Old Malton.



















































































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