If Ryedale really wants to help Malton, they should listen to local residents

28th November 2007  


The car park charges issue  does seem to have caused Ryedale to respond to concerns about Malton and Norton Towns. However, instead of taking the obvious steps necessary to put the matter right by taking immediate steps to reduce charges, they see the town’s concerns as an excuse to impose unwelcome and inappropriate changes with a view to transforming the towns beyond all recognition.


First there is there is the proposal to allocate 50% of all new residential development to the two towns. The effect, if implemented, will be to increase houses in the town by a little less than one third.


Some people might think this would benefit local business. They might be right, if only Malton people would do their shopping in Malton, but we know that large numbers don't. In fact there may be an argument to say that the nearer one's house is to the A64, the more likely one is to do one's shopping at Monk's Cross - particularly if one is a commuter and doesn't have to pay car park charges.


As  can be  imagined, this is a highly controversial scheme. Malton and Norton Councils don't want to see quite such a massive increase in their built area - they would accept 30%. It’s a matter of assimilation. The new houses will be sold to the highest bidder, and, except in the case of a proportion of affordable homes, will not necessarily be sold to local people who will use the local shops.


There is also the issue of infrastructure (roads, schools, etc.): I have even heard it said by some members that, if, for example, the highways position becomes really bad in Malton/Norton, the government will have to do something about it! One wonders if  government would bend to that kind of pressure. Just imagine the precedent it would set!


There are other schemes which Ryedale is pursuing with doubtful benefit to the towns or their  businesses. There are the three "options" for Market Square, for example.   ALL three require most of the car parking area to be replaced with a green open space, and the officers’ preferred option turns the road which passes between the Post Office and the Mercury Office into a two-way motor thoroughfare. This is astonishing, bearing in mind the urgent need for car parking and reduced car park fees.


There are also the options to make Wentworth Street available for superstore development. One wonders how this might help the town. However popular Morrisons is, for example, its existence on its present site has done nothing to regenerate Castlegate or bring trade to local shops, and is one of the main causes for the traffic congestion at Butcher Corner. So why should more superstores in Malton make the situation any better?


Then too there is the proposed business park at Eden Road – a private proposal which has the support of some public authorities. The Town Councils oppose this for obvious reasons. This proposal is intended to produce 800 jobs, but there is no way of ensuring that the new jobs will be for local people. Access will be from the same road which feeds Eden Camp, and there will be no roundabout. Just think of the traffic problems which must follow, if it goes ahead.


It would seem that Ryedale is unwittingly pressing ahead with policies which will, in the long term, change the character of the towns of Malton/Norton beyond all recognition in a way which will not be beneficial to anybody. If Ryedale REALLY wants to help the two towns, the Council should listen to the public and consider short term measures, such as the reduction of car park fees. We want our jam today – not tomorrow.




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