From Councillor Paul Andrews, Malton Ward



2 The Beeches, Great Habton

York YO17 6RS

Telephone 01653-669023 Website



Dear Residents,


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


I would like to bring to your attention the main issues which face Malton, and to tell you what I have been doing about them.


Last year and this year have been very difficult. I have spent much of my time as your councillor in going through wheel barrow loads of planning documents, particularly in regard to the Local Plan and the Supermarket. Land drainage and flooding have also become issues again.


Malton and Norton are threatened in a number of ways, and I want to show what I have been doing to resist these threats.


Before looking at specific issues, it may be useful to consider the context.


Residents will recall how some months ago there was a report in regard to the flawed administration of a Staffordshire NHS trust. The conclusion of the report was that the trust administration had been more interested in its “corporate self-interest” than in the care of its patients. I think this phrase  just about sums up what is wrong with much of the public administration of this country.


Management has been taken away from professionals on the basis that “you don’t need a professional qualification to be a manager”, and that anybody from any background can be a manager if he has “management skills” as opposed to “professional qualifications”. One consequence of this is that public administration has become top heavy with highly paid managers and accountants who do not always understand the professional staff and work they become responsible for.


Another matter concerns the attitude of some public service managers who came to believe they should have the same standing as directors in private companies. Years ago, there used to be a town clerk, a treasurer, a borough surveyor, a housing officer, a public health officer,the hearing before the inspector in May 2012 and three more days towards the end of the year at a resumed hearing. After that there were exchanges of many more documents which went on until June this year. I argued against the “Northern Arc” (see above) and the Housing and employment distribution. I did everything I could to represent the interests of the town, as set out in the Malton and Norton Neighbourhood Plan. My submissions in regard to housing and employment land distribution were based on many arguments – not just the highways argument. What saddens me most is not just that the inspector was not influenced by what I had to say, but that he ignored what was obvious. You don’t need to be a genius or to have masses of documents prepared by highly paid consultants to understand that 2,000 new houses, 36 plus hectares of new employment development and a huge new superstore are going to generate an unacceptable amount of traffic for Malton and Norton.


It should be noted that one of the Council’s arguments in regard to highways was that there would be more room for new development now that the intersection at Brambling Fields has been improved. There was once an urgent need to give this priority. This was when the Bacon Factory was at its busiest. Since then traffic from the Bacon Factory has reduced, and an intersection between Broughton Road and the A64 has become the priority. Brambling Fields will not resolve Malton’s traffic problems – particularly as it appears that a decision has already been taken not to prohibit heavy goods vehicles from using the level crossing.


I was not the only person who was dissatisfied with the local plans hearing, the inspector’s report and the subsequent adoption of the Ryedale Plan. The Malton Estate Co. and local businesses are not pleased about the “Northern Arc” being left in when there is “little” evidence to justify it. The developers who attended the hearing were also dissatisfied. They think that Ryedale should allow far more than 200 houses a year to be built. They have applied for judicial review, and if their application succeeds it is likely that the Council may have to review the entire plan. If so, they will have to review their policies on housing and employment land distribution. The Council will then want to force Malton/Norton to accept even more houses, but if they do, they will be acting contrary to their own flawed Strategic Highways Assessment which, in effect, recommends a ceiling of just over 2,000 houses - the number which they are already planning for  (see above). If this is correct, the Council will have to look to find more land for development in the rural areas, and this will mean that the Council’s distribution policies will have to be reviewed – which may not be a bad idea as far as Malton and Norton are concerned


So watch this space!

Flooding and Land Drainage.

I have done a lot of work on this, as will be seen if you click here. The following is an update.There are six separate issues.

The flooding of Malton/Norton by the River Derwent.

This issue has been satisfactorily resolved by the extensive flood walls and other works which were carried out several years ago.The flood walls have effectively kept the river within them, even during the most extreme weather.

The flooding of Malton/Norton by other watercourses/drains.

This is a matter which has not been satisfactorily resolved. Briefly, water from drains, the A64, springs and watercourses normally flows directly into the river. However, when the river rises, flood doors close to stop the river flowing out of the flood walls: however, the water that would normally flow into the river is then forced to back up behind the flood doors, and this can cause serious flooding by at the bottom of Sheepfoot Hill, Old Malton and Norton.


In the case of Norton, pumps have been installed to pump water from Prior Pot Beck into the river when the flood doors in other parts of the flood walls are closed. However, this does not deal with the foul and surface water which drains from the rest of the town.


In the case of Old Malton, the drain at Lascelles Lane receives storm water from the A64, water from the beck which goes into it, water from drains within the town, and water from the land at Eden Road on the other side of the A64. There is a pumping station there, but the pumps do not have adequate capacity. I went down to see the floods at Old Malton in November last year. There was a fountain at Lascelles Lane. Water was literally spouting out of the manhole.


It may help to explain how the drainage/sewerage system works. This was clearly built at a time when Malton and Norton were much smaller towns than they are now. There are two main sewers, one running through Norton and the other, through Malton. Both discharge foul water into the treatment works at York Road.  Both are combined systems acting as drains as well as sewers. This means that when there is an excess of sewerage, foul water gets discharged into the surface water pipes and vice versa. One consequence of a combined system is that when the flood doors are closed, the excess surface water flows into the sewerage pipes, and raw sewage then makes an unexpected appearance in back gardens and houses in Norton and also in Malton. Another consequence is that  foul air from raw sewage wafts its way into the surface water drains, and then emerges from the drains in Wheelgate, Castlegate, and Old Maltongate around about Butchers Corner in Malton. This is the reason for the smell there.


Norton’s drains/sewers roughly follow the railway. There are three pumping stations, one near the builder’s yard on the Scarborough Road, one near the swimming baths and the other near the Level Crossing. These pumps do not have the capacity to deal adequately with extreme weather.


The Malton sewers/drains roughly follow the line of Old Malton Main Street, Old Maltongate, and York Road.  As I understand, there are pumping stations at Lascelles Lane, and the top of York Road. Again the pumps are not adequate to deal with extreme weather.


Regrettably, none of the statutory authorities are inclined to help in any way whatsoever. In fact, they seem to be determined to make matters far worse. The November 2012 floods were contained successfully, but this was only because a large number of heavy mobile pumps from elsewhere were used to pump the flood water into the river. I counted seven of these at Old Malton alone. In fact, the containment of the flood water was only possible because these mobile pumps were not needed elsewhere. In spite of this the recent study has concluded that this is the way to prevent further flooding in the future, and there is no need for capital works. So we have only to wait for a flooding event which also affects Leeds, Hull and/or York, when many of the mobile pumps will be used elsewhere, and parts of  Malton/Norton will be well-flooded again. This is completely unsatisfactory.


This brings me to the issue of future development. Clearly, it is not a good idea to add to an already bad situation by building a lot of new houses or other development: there will be more foul water for the sewers, and there will be swifter run off from built and metalled surfaces than there is from open fields.


Before the end of the Local Plan hearing, I obtained a full land drainage and sewerage report from a qualified and experienced civil engineer, and handed this in to the Council and to the inspector. They took not a blind bit of notice. The inspector thought that the drainage issue was one which could be dealt with at a later time and did not affect the distribution of ho etc. In the 1970’s they styled themselves the “Chief Executive” the “Director of Finance”, the “Directouses and other development to Malton and Norton in principle. More recently the matter was raised with the Water company in regard to a specific development. They said they didn’t know about the smell problem at Butchers’ Corner. Council planning officers denied knowledge of the drainage/sewerage system, and of the report which I had submitted to the Council and to the inspector. One of the problems is that, as a result of local government economies, the Council has had no qualified civil engineer on its staff for years, and the one unqualified civil engineer they did have left some years ago without being replaced. So the council has to rely on advice from the statutory authorities, who clearly either could not care less or do not understand the towns’ drainage and sewerage issues.


What do I make of all this? I don’t think the Council – or, for that matter, any of the other statutory authorities or undertakers - give a dam about Malton and Norton. What other rational conclusion can one sensibly draw?


Early in the 2,000’s the Environment agency came up with a comprehensive flood relief scheme for Pickering. Pickering people rejected it, and the Agency brought forward a second scheme. This could not proceed because the policy changed, and the money for the work was redirected to other places with greater populations. Ryedale Council and councillors objected to this, but the Agency would not budge.


An opportunity arose when some academics visited the town. They asked for views, and I and some others explained the background and history, and suggested they consider taking action to slow the flow of the Pickering Beck and/or to increase the rate of flow out of Pickering. They came up with the “Slow the Flow” plan, and as this cost far less than their previous schemes, the Environment Agency adopted it. It involves building one or more detention reservoirs upstream of Pickering, and other work to slow the flow of water flowing through upstream wooded areas.


Unfortunately, it then emerged that the detention reservoir would be covered by the reservoir regulations and would cost much more than originally anticipated. So there were delays, and so far no reservoir has been completed. However, some work has been done in the woodland areas upstream, and although this is clearly not enough, Pickering did not flood in 2012. This was a surprise because it was expected, and a large crowd of journalists and photographers turned up in Pickering to take pictures: they were disappointed. 

Flooding of Farm Land Upstream of Howe Bridge.

This is a matter which has been thoroughly investigated by Chris Bowles on behalf of the Drainage Boards in a report which was financed by the Council. There has been a long history of complaints by the farming community about the failure of the Environment Agency to dredge the rivers or cut back the weeds. Chris Bowles is a qualified hydrologist and civil engineer. His report shows that for most of their length the levels of silt in the River Derwent and the River Rye are much the same as they were in the 1950’s. However, when the River Rye becomes swollen with rain and meets the Derwent at Howe Bridge, it can release so much water that water flows upstream as well as downstream. In these conditions  huge quantities of silt are deposited at the place where the rivers converge. This forms a plug and it is this plug which is largely responsible for the flooding upstream of Howe Bridge.


I understand the cost of clearing this plug is about £10,000, and that once cleared, the job would not need repeating for another ten years or more. £10,000 is a very small sum in the general scale of things, and I cannot understand why some authority hasn’t come up with the money to sort this out.

Trees on river banks and weeds in rivers

Chris Bowles has persuaded the Environment Agency that cutting weeds and trimming riverside trees does help to minimise flood risk, and I understand some work has been carried out on selected stretches of river.

The River Derwent downstream of Malton

As mentioned, Chris Bowles’ research has shown that (except at Howe Bridge) the river bed of the Derwent is about as deep as it was in the 1950’s. However, the last time I spoke to him, he had not investigated as far as the weir at Kirkham Abbey. So there may be some silt deposits behind the weir.


I understand there is a flood gate at the weir which used to be opened in times of severe weather. However, the mechanism is no longer working and the flood gate will have to be repaired or replaced. The flood gate in place now has a relatively simple mechanism which used to be operated by hand. The replacement would have to be far more complex, in order to satisfy numerous regulatory requirements and be operated by remote control. The consequence is that the Environment agency say the flood gate cannot be replaced or repaired, except at a huge expense which they say they cannot justify.


As an alternative, they are thinking of dismantling the flood gate so that water can pass unimpeded at all tmes of day. If this goes ahead, it could result in the lowering of the Derwent.


These then are the main issues which face Malton. I also help residents with any problems they may have with the Council.


If you want any help or more information, please do not hesitate to call me on 01653 669023.


Yours sincerely




Privacy Policy
r of Technical Services” and other “Directors” of this or that. Somewhere along the line self-importance and self-interest came to take precedence over service to the public, and empires began to grow.


Every now and again central government (of all political parties) has tried to rein in this growth of bureaucracy. This has never been very successful, because the politicians themselves do not understand the bureaucracy or how to deal with it, and they are hampered by civil service departments which have also grown like topsy. The consequence is that public service cuts often end up with an axe that falls in the wrong places, doing more harm than good, demoralising the service. So, when nobody can rely on fairness from government, some managers can take the view that if nobody else is going to look after them, they had better look after themselves.


So senior council officials and members have come to imagine themselves in a role equivalent to a directors of a large public companies, and at the same time have come under pressure protect their own self-interest. This has led to the  evolution of  the concept of “corporate responsibility” and the “corporate interest.”  According to this all senior officers and members are expected to act “as a team”, and the authority is deemed to have an interest of its own which is distinct from the interests of the public which it serves. Councillors are told they are part of the same team, and are asked to consider themselves as “directors” of the Council’s corporate entity, instead of representatives of their wards.


In every walk of life everybody  has to work together as members of their employers’ teams. The same applies to local government. However, in local government, this did not used to stop professionals disagreeing with one another when one officer (eg. The finance officer) wanted to act in a way which compromised the professional judgement of another officer (eg. The housing or planning officer). The outcome used to be a committee report which the whole “management team” could sign up to. This seems to have changed. The moral imperative is no longer first and foremost based on the professionalism of the various officers and service to the public, but on what is deemed to be the interest of the authority as a self-contained corporate body. This kind of “team ethic” seems to have been allowed to over-ride the professional judgement of individual officers. The result is that “corporate self-interest” seems to have become more important than the interests of the people who the authority is set up to serve.


This may seem fanciful, but it is the only explanation I can think of for the extraordinary behaviour of some public authorities, MP’s, Councillors and public officials over the last few years.


The above is a general comment, expressing a view on the national context. I do not know if it applies to Ryedale.


As regards Ryedale each of the main issues affecting Malton are set out separately below.

The Supermarket saga.

For years Ryedale was able to rely on the interest of the money it had received in 1991 for the sale of its council houses to subsidise Council Tax. Then a few years ago the Council paid for the building of the joint-use sports centre at Malton school. This and other capital projects reduced the Council’s capital reserves, and the interest earnt from investing it. I think the Council has been looking for ways to recover this capital nest egg, and that this is the reason for the pressure to sell Wentworth Street Car Park.


Up until 2008, all the Council’s reports recommended that the Cattle Market area should be redeveloped as a food store and for other retail, and this would be an anchor which would support the town’s shopping centre, which had gone into decline following the opening of the Monks Cross Shopping Centre in 1999. In 2008 the advice suddenly changed, and Wentworth Street Car Park was recommended instead. After 2008 the reports were obviously flawed, and written to please. I wrote several analyses and articles pointing out the flaws, and some of these are reproduced on this website. The Council ignored all my comments, and those of others. I was harassed and persecuted – as were others – for sticking to our views.


Instead of seeking planning permission for a superstore first, the Council sold the land “subject to planning” to a developer and then encouraged the developer to get planning permission. The Secretary of State was asked to intervene, but refused to do so, even though the application was clearly contrary to national policy. However, the matter eventually came to a head in a major public enquiry which the Council lost. That was last year. The Council was ordered to pay the other sides’s costs, and these have been assessed at £148,000. I was vindicated.


Ryedale have never accepted this decision. I asked twice for there to be an investigation into how wrong advice had been given to the Council which the Inspector said included an “inexcusable” interpretation and application of national policy. Twice the Council refused to investigate.  Instead they kept Wentworth Street Car Park in the local plan as a retail destination by designating it part of a “Northern Arc”. This has the effect of putting off developers who might be interested in developing the Cattle market, and so, in effect the Council is holding Malton and its shops to ransom. Ryedale has learnt no lessons and does not care what happens to the town. It is only bothered about the Council’s corporate self-interest, and it has no compunction in using its statutory, regulatory powers for its own financial advantage.


The matter was debated before the Local Plans inspector, but his main concern seemed to be to get an approved plan - whether it was the right plan or not and whether it contravened national policy or not. He would not recommend any alterations to the plan which the Council would not agree with. He accepted that there was “little evidence” to justify the “Northern Arc”, but then went on to say that the Northern Arc provided a “steer” for future development.


Now the developers have revised their previous plan, and the matter is back before the Council, this time with the support of Nathaniel Lichfield, the shopping consultants who are regularly engaged by TESCO. The Council can be expected to support the application, as they did the last time. I shall continue to vigorously oppose the application and would encourage all residents to do the same.

The Local Plan

The view seems to have become widespread that over the last twenty years more development had taken place in the country areas than in the towns, and that the situation needed rebalancing. This was a completely false view. In fact, over the past ten years,  54% of new houses had been built in the towns and 46%, in the country areas. The detailed position is shown in the table at Figure 1 below.

Fig 1

Source: Ryedale District Council Planning Department

There was also a view that for environmental reasons all new development should be concentrated in the towns.


Ryedale comprises 550 square miles, and one would have thought that there would be plenty of room for new houses in the country areas. There are about a hundred villages, many of these in danger of losing their local shops, schools, churches, pubs, bus service or post offices: they could do with new blood to maintain village services. Yet Ryedale has decided to concentrate 90% of all new housing in the towns of Malton, Norton, Pickering, Kirby Moorside and Helmsley, the remaining 10% to be built in ten “service villages”. Ryedale also decided to concentrate 80% of all new employment development in Malton/Norton. Malton and Norton are to take 50% of all new houses, and Pickering/Kirby Moorside are to take 35%. For Malton/Norton this theoretically means 1,500 houses, but after making allowances for “windfalls” and a “buffer”, the number is nearer 2,000. This is in addition to the 5,000 houses in Malton/Norton already – an increase of about a third.


In order to find out residents views, I made the local plan my main campaign issue for the 2011 elections. I asked residents if they would support redevelopment of the Cattle Market area (subject to a satisfactory relocation of the livestock market itself), no other new supermarket, and 1,000 new houses only for both Malton and Norton, and less employment development in the two towns. I received overwhelming support, and topped the poll.


As the threat to the towns became clear, Malton and Norton residents, businesses and councillors got together and prepared a Neighbourhood Plan. I initiated this. Emma Brooksbank and Denis Townsend took it forward. A public consultation took place after the 2011 election, and this supported the views voters had made clear at the election, and the Town Councils then approved the Neighbourhood Plan.


The sheer scale of the development proposed for Malton and Norton  will inevitably cause problems for the towns’ highways, drainage and sewerage infrastructure. I will explain the drainage and sewerage issues below under the flooding heading of this note. As regards highways, the Council’s consultants produced a “Strategic Highways Assessment”. This document is flawed. Instead of comparing the likely impact of new development with the development already in place, it assumes that all the controversial as yet unbuilt new development has been built, and then concludes that the impact of the Council’s proposals would be acceptable.


I put this document to Allan Martin, who was the senior County Council highways officer responsible for development control. He produced a report (which I will endeavour to add to this site, as soon as I can). Allan Martin had been responsible for an area which includes Ryedale for over 30 years. He retired ten years ago. His report condemns Ryedale’s Strategic Highways Assessment. His view wasss that, if Ryedale’s proposals go ahead, there will be a daily increase in highways “trips” of 28,756. This  is set out in Figure 2 below:


Figure 2

Ryedale District Plan

Analysis of new trips to be created by the Ryedale Plan in Malton/Norton, according to information provided by Alan Martin:

36ha employment land x 343.4                                                          12,362 daily trips

2,000 more houses (1,500 plus half

 the notional backlog and half the “buffer”) x 6                              12,000


Food retail: 1,890 x 115.2/100                                                2,177

Non-food retail 5,394 x 41.1/100                                                       2,217

Total Daily trips to be generated by new development    28,756


Ryedale would not accept these figures. They said they were based on old criteria – in spite of the fact that the general assumption amongst professional highways engineers is still that every new house can be expected to generate about 6 vehicle trips per day. Ryedale did however say that the proposed new development would generate 4,027 new vehicular trips in the morning rush hour. In doing so, they did not realise that if this figure is averaged out over the whole day, taking into account lower rates of use at other times, a higher rate during the afternoon rush hour  and taking other factors into account, the daily number of new vehicular trips likely to be generated by the new proposed development turns out to be between 33,000 and 37,000.


I spent many long hours going through wheel barrow loads of Council documents and preparing analyses and responses to them. I do not have endless time and resources. So what I could do was limited. Even so I think I covered all the Council’s key documents. In nearly every case I found they were substantially flawed. The data given just did not justify the conclusions at the end of the report. Some of the documents I prepared are exhibited on this website(click here).


I fed my views into the Council, but they were ignored. I submitted two lever arch files of representations to the inspector at the hearing into the local plan together with other submissions which eventually exceeded more paperwork than would fit into two ordinary A4 files, but the inspector seemed to be only interested in the bottom line conclusions. He was not prepared to analyse the Council’s evidence. As cross-examination is not allowed at local plans hearings, it was impossible to challenge the Council’s evidence properly. The inspector had no qualifications as a highways engineer, and simply accepted the Council’s flawed Strategic Highways Assessment at its face value. The Council told him that Allan Martin’s evidence should not be accepted because it was based on old criteria. The inspector accepted this, even though the figure of 4,027 new morning rush hour trips (which had been produced by Ryedale themselves)  and the conclusions which could be drawn from this had been specifically drawn to his attention.


I spent eight days at