Plans for a multi-million pound development which will see the Malton Livestock Market moved to near the Eden Camp Museum and make the town “the capital of Ryedale” have been given the go-ahead.
But a prominent objector claimed that those involved in the scheme were holding the town to ransom.
Other objections and concerns were raised about the development being on prime agricultural land, the risk of flooding and fears over increased traffic through OId Malton.
But an extraordinary meeting of Ryedale District Council’s Planning Committee heard from planning chief Gary Housden that there was no alternative brownfield site that would be suitable for such a scheme.
After a long debate the scheme for an agri-business centre and business centre , which will create around 800 jobs and attract £20m investment into the district, was agreed by a majority of five for, one against and one abstention.
Earlier this month it was given the go-ahead by Malton Town Council by just one vote.
It will now have to be referred to the Secretary of State for Local Government and the Communities as a requirement of the consultation procedures because of the size of the development.
Mr Housden, the head of planning, pointed out in a report that the current operation was subject to a short rolling lease with no security of tenure so an alternative site and a modern purpose-built facility was required to protect the market.
The scheme, which will also include a new roundabout on the Edenhouse Road and the A169, will, in part, be funded by three new housing developments in Malton which were also given the go-ahead despite some misgivings.
The application was submitted by Commercial Development Projects in partnership with and the Fitzwilliam Trust Corporation and supported by the Malton and Ryedale Farmers Livestock Market Company
Derek Watson, director of the Livestock Market Company, told the meeting the market had gone from strength to strength and was not only profitable but also one of the largest sheep markets which brought money into the area.
“We do need and have a chance to build a new market which will support and enhance the future of Ryedale’s livestock farmers and bring more footfall into Malton.
“This will help the banks, shops, accountants and solicitors and will see more people coming to it bringing more money into the area,” he said adding: “It will make Malton the capital of Ryedale.”
He referred to the desire to see Malton as the foodie capital of Yorkshire adding “so let us keep the second link in the chain.”
But Councillor Paul Andrews, who is not a member of the committee but who was in the public seating area and was allowed to speak, strongly objected to the scheme.
While he favoured the relocation of the existing market from the centre of Malton the proposed site was the most controversial they could have chosen and there was not the infrastructure in place to accommodate the accompanying “enabling” development.
Other far less controversial sites were available, including one adjacent to the York Road Industrial Estate and another further along the Pickering Road.
But the livestock market operators and the trust had chosen to “hold the town to ransom” by telling everybody that unless they could have the “enabling” development the market would cease to exist.
Annie Jones, another objector representing residents in Old Malton, expressed their concern that it would make their land more prone to flooding than it already was, that there would be increased traffic and they questioned why the developments were taking place on greenfield sites.
But Charles Vyvyan of Commercial Development Projects said they believed the site was the ideal location.
Relocation of the market was not only necessary to survive but was a key catalyst to having around 800 new jobs and safeguarding existing ones.
The committee also heard that Bishop Burton Agricultural College was also keen to be involved in the scheme.
“We have the commitment and the resources to build a new livestock market,” he said.
Councillor Lindsay Burr said Malton needed to continue to be a market town.
She disputed suggestions that anyone was being held to ransom over the project but was concerned to ensure that funding was available for the new roundabout onto the busy A169.
She felt that being close to the A64 meant traffic would go straight to the new site and alleviate some traffic problems in Malton and Old Malton.
Councillor Janet Sanderson was concerned about the risk of flooding but Mr Housden assured her that the design of the scheme would improve the situation in terms of any run-off.
Councillor Tommy Woodward argued that other areas of land near the bacon factory and the York Road industrial estate close to the A64 would be better suited.
Fitzwilliam (Malton) Estate, the landlord of the existing market, has secured planning consent to redevelop the current market site.
Initially its plans were turned down by the council but the estate won an appeal following a public inquiry.
The go-ahead for the new livestock centre and the housing developments was described as a “major milestone” by those behind the projects.
Charles Vyvyan, from Commercial Development Projects and Mark Nicholson, agent to the Fitzwilliam Trust Corporation, said:
“Clearly this is a major milestone for the project and we are delighted that the council has approved these planning applications.
“This decision will result in a massive investment into Malton. The approval means that hundreds of new jobs will be created, secure the relocation of the livestock market, as well as offering much needed new housing.”
“The next steps are to draw up detailed plans for the new livestock arket and get onsite as soon as possible.”
Derek Watson, Director of the Livestock Market Company, commented:
"Gaining outline planning approval is a massive achievement to relocate the market.
“We will now start to draw up detailed plans and work on the details of the new market.
“This will provide a real boost to Malton as the Livestock Market is integral to the town and wider area.
“The importance of a thriving market is crucial for Malton’s future and it will reinforce the town’s position as being the food capital of the area.”