WARNINGS that businesses in Malton are suffering from indecision over the controversial plan by Ryedale District Council to develop its Wentworth Street car park for a supermarket, were made by the town council.
Councillor David Lloyd-Williams told the council that some traders who were facing renewal of their leases by the Fitzwilliam Estate, were concerned because they feared a large supermarket could be selling the type of goods available in their shops.
“The whole of our local business sector is under threat,” he said. “I fear for the future of our shops.”
Instead, said Coun Lloyd-Williams, Malton wanted an upmarket supermarket such as Waitrose or Booths on the site of the town’s livestock market, which is planning to move to a site on the edge of the town.
It was a moral issue, he said, that Ryedale District Council could make a decision about a scheme on its own land when it would be the financial beneficiary.
“The council’s credibility will be blown to pieces,” said Coun Lloyd-Williams.
Councillor Paul Andrews said he thought that the new plan put forward for part of the Wentworth Street car park was as legally flawed as the original and it could result in a court case, following the decision by a Government planning inspector to reject the first scheme and approve that of the Fitzwilliam Estate’s plan for the livestock market.
He said had heard reports that some district council members had indicated how they would like to see some of the potential £5m Ryedale House could receive from the sale of the car park, spent in their wards.
Town clerk Mike Skehan said: “The district council should refuse the application and let it go to an appeal.”
The district council’s planning committee is expected to discuss the latest plan for the car park, submitted by Leeds developers Holbeck, as the council’s preferred developer, in the next few weeks.
The district council’s leader, Councillor Linda Cowling, said the new planning application was due to go before the authority’s planning committee next month, but no recommendation had been made by officers for councillors to consider.
She said that many local authorities decided planning applications for development on their own land. “It happens all the time and there is no question of the council acting immorally.”
She said she believed that Malton’s range of speciality food shops would be hit less by a store such as Tesco than by an upmarket company such as Waitrose or Budgens which were likely to be selling the same line of products.
Coun Cowling said she had not heard of any firm being interested so far in the Malton Livestock Market site.