Ryedale's "Traffic Assessment" is politically driven and fundamentally flawed : 14th April 2010

We now have Ryedale’s blueprint for catastrophic change in Malton/Norton over the next 15 years.

On 15th December 2009 the Council met and approved its “Preferred Options” for  a “Core Strategy” for the future of Ryedale, without really knowing what Ryedale’s high command had in store for us. We were told we should do this without having to consider the impact on local highways.

However, by mid-February, “County in collaboration with Ryedale had refined the presentation of the information” in a consultants’ report on the traffic impact first submitted to officers in early November last year.

Now, it is not possible to do an assessment of traffic impact on defined junctions without knowing what is planned and where it is intended to go. So this “Strategic Transport Assessment” shows a range of sites and options, but starts from the assumption that the development of certain specified sites is a foregone conclusion.

This then is the start of Ryedale’s crazy blueprint.

The sites which are listed as a foregone conclusion include nearly all the most controversial sites in the two towns. They include new retail in Wentworth Street Car Park and other sites. The amount of food retail exceeds that recommended in the latest consultants’ report by almost three times (6,100 sq.m against the recommended figure for 2021 of 2,164sq.m). Then there is the controversial Eden Road site, where the Council expects to authorise employment development comprising 119,601 sq.m. Their worst excess in terms of delusions of grandeur is evident from a proposal to develop a site at Sheepfoot Hill/ Castlegate into an enormous retail park comprising 11,100 sq.m – over 110,000 sq.ft – this between the bridge and Butchers Corner. A copy of the full list is exhibited on my website under “News and Views”.

Additionally, it is recommended that 2,165 new houses should be built in Malton and Norton.

Both County and Ryedale and their tame consultants have concluded that this monstrous expansion of our two towns will not produce an unacceptable impact on the local highway network!

It should be clearly understood that this list of sites was not compiled by the Consultants: it is a list which has been given them by Ryedale’s high command. They were instructed to treat this list as “the baseline”, against which all other “scenarios” were to be compared. So instead of comparing traffic movements now with traffic movements of proposed future development, they have substituted an inflated “baseline” as a basis for comparison. It is a classic case of if you put“garbage in” you’ll get “garbage out”.

I have drawn these points to the attention of Conservative controlled North Yorkshire County, but they have accepted the report notwithstanding its fatal flaws.

I find it absolutely astonishing that within a few weeks of a General Election, a Conservative led council with the connivance of its LibDem allies has produced such a flawed document. It shows unbelievable arrogance and ignorance and a complete and utter disregard and contempt for the people they are supposed to serve.


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