A GROUP of residents have set up a protest group against plans to build about 500 new houses in Malton.

Members of the Malton Residents’ Group say the outline application will have a huge impact on the local area including its infrastructure.

The plans, which have been submitted by the Fitzwilliam Malton Estate, propose to develop a 21-hectare site between Castle Howard Road and Middlecave Road, with the A64 forming the western boundary.

Provisionally named High Malton, the proposed development is described as a self-contained community of homes, shops and employment and will include a significant proportion of affordable homes interspersed with properties ranging from bungalows to larger family houses.

However, Ian Conlan, from the Malton Residents’ Group, said there was great concern that the effect the development would have on the local character of the town and Ryedale in general.

“The 500 houses represents potentially a 25 per cent increase in the population of Malton, a small market town with currently under 5,000 residents,” he said.

“The biggest concern is that as an outline application, the Fitzwilliam Estate will not be tied to any detail in their documents, and could simply sell the land to a volume house builder for a standard housing development, or even do a large retail or commercial development instead. The application is that woolly.”

Mr Conlan said there was also concern over the increase in the number of HGVs both in the area and in Malton in general.

“This development would also hugely impact on the setting of the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and harm the rural setting of the town and the approaches to Malton,” he said.

“It will also completely overwhelm the infrastructure of roads, sewers, doctors’ surgery and schools.”

Councillor Paul Andrews, deputy mayor of Malton and a member of Ryedale District Council, said he shared their concerns.

“The houses in the new development will generate 3,000 new vehicular trips every day — six trips per household — of which 12 per cent, 360 trips, can be assumed to take place in each peak period,” he said.

“Development in the wrong places could undermine every effort which is being made to revitalise Malton town centre.

“It will not be possible to keep residential traffic out of the town centre, if residents have to travel through the town centre to get to the A64.”

Tobias Burckhardt, surveyor with the Fitzwilliam (Malton) Estate, said they were committed to the development and were listening to the issues raised.

“We realise there are concerns that this is an outline plan but it is our aim to ensure the special design and ethos of High Malton is seen through to completion,” he said.

“This is a legacy scheme and we are hear to listen to what people want.”