Car Park issue returns. Please click here and visit the latest set of representations I have made on the revised application on 17th January 2014.



The email set out below asked Council members to defer the decision on the proposed Wentworth Street Car park superstore at their meeting of 22nd March 2012. This request was ignored and the applicartion was granted, whilst the application for the Cattle Market (which, following public consultation, is favoured by the Malton and Norton Interim Neighbourhood Plan) was refused.


The Wentworth Street Car Park application then had to be referred to the Secretary of State to consider whether or not the application should be called in. I prepared several papers on the matter and submitted these to the Secreatry of State asking him to call the matter in. this involved a considerable amount of work and this is exhibited on this site in the first menu (click here for this).


The Secretary of State refused to call the application in. In doing so he broke his own policy guidelines.The Secretary of State was fully appraised of all the arguments which were later (see next para) put before Inspector Wildsmith, when he decided not to call the Wentworth Street Car Park decision in. His failure to call in the decision was therefore made against his own policy, and was quite possibly unlawful..


This is clear from later events. The applicant for the Cattle Market site appealed against the Council's refusal on the basis, inter alia,that their site was "more sequentially preferable" than Wentworth Street Car Park. This resulted in a comparison of both sites. During cross-examination, the Council's consultant expert witness was compelled to admit that the advice given by his firm was wrong. The Inspector (inspector Wildsmith) allowed the appeal and awarded costs against the Council because he said there was "no excuse" for this wrong advice. The Council would seem to have spent over £100,000 on this matter, and will have to pay the appellants' costs. The appellants' costs were agreed at £148,000


The Second menu (click here)includes documents in regard to the appeal.


The Wentworth Street Car Park application could  not be granted permission until and unless a further report was brought before committee. This happened on 24th April 2014, when a "revised" application was submitted. The Council was recommended to disregard Inspector Wildsmith's appeal decision letter, and to grant permission, which they did. However, the matter had to be referred to the Scecretary of State again, and no decision can be issued until the Secretary of State has decided whether or not to call the matter in.


The third menu (click here) contains my observations on the ~"revised" application, and my request to have the matter called in.


Unfortunately, this is not the end of the matter, as the Council are now seeking to achieve through the local plan what they could not justify by argument before Inspector Wildsmith. The second menu includes an article by Selina Scott (published in the Telegraph in March 2013) which summarises the situation.





The following is a copy of my Email to Council members on WWSCP superstore application before this was considered by the Council on 22nd March 2012

This email is addressed primarily for the attention of Planning Committee members, but is being copied to all members.

The purpose of this email is to ask Planning Committee to defer all three of the retail applications which will be before it on Thursday 29th March, so that all the interested parties can have the opportunity of debating all the relevant retail issues before the inspector at the Examination in Public into the draft Ryedale Plan.

My reason for this request is that the wrong decision, if taken in haste, could ruin ALL the market towns within the district (not just Malton).

Last week I wrote an article for the Mercury pointing out how the application for WWSCP, if granted, will impact on the towns of Ryedale – not just Malton and Norton. I attach a copy. I would urge you to read it before you decide how to cast your vote.

Some people reading this article may think I’m exaggerating. In order to correct this impression, Paul Beanland and I have together prepared a report on the likely impact of the proposals. A copy is attached(Click here - our report is the one dated 22 March 2012). This looks at the planning application statement put together by Nathaniel Lichfield on behalf of GMI Holbeck - in the context of the data and tables gathered and prepared by the Council’s own consultants RTP. It therefore represents a reasoned assessment of the impact of the developer’s proposals not just on Malton – but also on other Ryedale towns.

It will be seen from this report (Para 18) that the total annual convenience goods expenditure of residents within the Ryedale District is £82.1M. Of this, only £27.8M is spent outside the district. This £27.8 M is spent by Ryedale’s residents in the neighbouring  sub-regional centres of York and Scarborough and other district centres such as Thirsk, Easingwold, Driffield, Pocklington, Beverley etc.

“Convenience” goods means consumables such as food and household goods one buys as part of one’s weekly shop.

We are being asked call this £27.8M as “leakage” – as money which should be spent in Ryedale. I challenge this, because trade and commerce do not follow district council boundaries. People will do their weekly shop in those centres which are nearest and most convenient to them.  There is nothing wrong or unusual for residents who live closer to other centres to do their shopping there rather than in Ryedale. You have to ask yourself: “Would a new supermarket in Malton make people who live nearer other centres and usually do their shopping in those other centres come to Malton to do their shopping?”  I would suggest that the answer is that for these people, the impact of a new supermarket in Malton is likely to be marginal.

The new superstore proposed for WWSCP will have a net convenience sales space of 23,250 sq.ft. The Morrisons supermarket in Malton has a net sales space of 27,050 sq. ft. Holbeck say their new store on WWSCP will have an annual turnover of £28M in Convenience good. RTP say that the annual convenience expenditure at Morrisons, Malton is £29.4M. So presumably “turnover” and “expenditure” mean much the same – the amount of money spent by customers in the store.

Of the total £82.1M  of money spent on  convenience goods  by residents of Ryedale, £54.4M is spent in Ryedale, The following table shows the main destinations for most of this expenditure (£44.8M). It will be seen that Morrisons has the Lion’s share of all convenience  trade – throughout the district. Presumably the remaining £9.6M is spent in pubs, restaurants, village shops etc.

Click here for Table referred to

Source: RTP Report July 2011

NB. “OCA” means “overall catchment area”. This is explained in the attached report, and, as RTP have drawn it, roughly corresponds to the boundaries of Ryedale District.

Nevertheless, the proposed superstore on WWSCP is expected to have a convenience turnover of £28M. The only way this can be achieved without prejudicing Ryedale’s existing shopping centres would be for the superstore to take all of the £27.8M annual convenience goods expenditure which is currently spent by Ryedale residents outside the district. This cannot possibly be achieved because of the proximity of the sub-regional and other district centres referred to above. As a consequence, one can expect the new superstore to take trade from existing shops within the district (ie. not just from those in Malton).

The question is: how much?

Nathaniel Lichfield on behalf of Holbeck say: there will be a “trade diversion” to their new store of “31.3% from Morrisons and 6.1% from other shops in Malton”.

The Council’s consultants’, RTP, disagree In their view the trade diversion is likely to be higher than Holbeck say. We are not told how much higher, but clearly, even in the unlikely event that the new supermarket would “recapture” 50% of the alleged “leakage” (ie half of £27.8M = £13.9M), they  would still have to find the remaining £14.1M – and as the independent shops and smaller supermarkets will always be weaker than the big supermarkets like Morrisons, they will be the main losers  - not Morrisons.

However, Holbeck say that the proposed supermarket will not compete directly with the independent traders in the town centre “because it will cater for weekly/bulk buy trips rather than specialised/top shopping”.

This is the kind of thinking one can expect from slick city consultants who know absolutely nothing about country life. Ryedale is a low wage area, and so many of the shops target the low wage market. Those that do specialise, usually rely on products which will sell on the low wage market for their bread and butter. Very few shops are able to survive on specialist sales alone. If the new supermarket takes their bread and butter trade away, town centre shops will die – not just in Malton, but in every other Ryedale town.

As regards comparison goods (clothes, electricals, furniture etc.), the new superstore at WWSCP intends to have a turnover of £7.9M. The applicants say that by drawing convenience shoppers into Malton who would normally shop elsewhere, they will increase footfall in the town centre, and on this basis they can increase annual retail expenditure on comparison goods by £7M to £14M. Of course, this is unlikely because Ryedale residents who live nearer to other centres (particularly York, Scarborough, Beverley or Thirsk) are unlikely to change their shopping habits just because there is a new superstore in Malton. So, most of the new superstore’s £7.9M turnover will be diverted from shops in Malton, Pickering, Kirby Moorside, Helmsley, Thornton-Dale, and all that will be left will be banks, building societies and tourist shops. Is this what you want to see?

Notwithstanding, the Council’s consultants RTP advise that the “impact of trade diversion on the town’s vitality and viability is unlikely to be significantly adverse”


This advice should be treated with extreme caution.

RTP have been advising the Council since at least 2006.

In their 2006 Report they did not even mention WWSCP, but identified the livestock market area “as being the primary opportunity to address deficiencies in the Malton retail offer, and the site holds the key to the future well-being of the town centre”.

In a report published in September 2008, they said of the then FME plans to redevelop the Cattle Market: “We consider that the well-located cattle market site is a suitable and imminently available site, of a sufficient size to accommodate a good quality retail-led development”

In the same report they dismissed WWSCP as “we do not consider that it represents a short-term development opportunity”.

So why are RTP supporting WWSCP now? I would venture to suggest that it might be because their instructions may have changed.

As we all know, about 18 months ago, a member of the Council’s Senior Management Team emailed Councillor Legard: “A permission for a new supermarket at either the livestock market or the Showfield will lose millions from the value of WWSCP  - our most saleable asset. In terms of our responsibilities as land owner and manager of public assets, that would be disastrous at a time when our funding sources are disappearing into thin air...........”

Councillor Legard asked the Monitoring Officer about this and the Monitoring Officer obtained counsel’s opinion. She said: “Therefore it does not seem to me that the officer’s email which was made 18 months ago, would now cause a reasonable observer to consider there was a real possibility of bias in the determination of the applications.”

That was 18 months ago. In the meantime, further evidence of bias comes from the way those of us who oppose the development of Wentworth Street Car Park have been treated by the Council and its officers. In particular, attempts have been made to exclude me from meetings at which this matter was discussed; when I attended, I have been interrupted or prevented from speaking; almost the entire civic leadership of Malton town were put on trial on trumped up charges before the Standards Committee – just because we dared to defy Ryedale  by voting in favour of the Town Council carrying out its own public opinion survey on matters which included the future of WWSCP; six highly paid senior council officials got together to write a 25 page legal letter which purported to give reasons for not passing on my representations on all three of these applications to the case officer at East Riding Council – (a situation which was only resolved after I had drawn the matter to the attention of Councillor Keith Knaggs); and a motion to full council proposed by Councillors Edward Legard and Lindsay Burr was ruled out of order on the basis of a disputed Counsel’s opinion, which inter alia mistakenly suggested that the local government ombudsman was likely to investigate in circumstances where the ombudsman’s own website makes it clear that this was unlikely.

In these circumstances and of the Council's clearly described vested interest in the outcome of the meeting, I would suggest that it is unsafe to rely on advice from either officers or consultants, and the best way of resolving all these applications is to defer them so that they can be considered at the Examination in Public into the draft Ryedale Plan. If the applicants want to appeal against non-determination, let them get on with it – I cannot believe the inspectorate would want to hear the appeal until after the EIP, as the EIP is imminent.


Privacy Policy