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Plan may urbanise town - inquiry told
2:40pm Wednesday 26th September 2012 in News
PROPOSALS to allocate the vast majority of new land for employment opportunities in Malton , Norton and Pickering , compared with the rest of Ryedale, have been questioned at a public inquiry which resumed this week.
The proposals, as set out in the Ryedale Plan, would mean that 95 per cent of new employment land allocations would target those three areas – leaving just five per cent in Helmsley and Kirkbymoorside .
The 170-page document sets out new housing, retail and employment development during the next 15 years.
It states that land for employment uses will include the provision of higher quality employment sites and premises which would be capable of supporting the sub-regional economy for science-based businesses, including the expansion of existing sites and the provision of a science and technology business park in Malton and Norton.
It would, says the plan, offer opportunies for specialist sectors including precision engineering and advanced manufacturing, as well as providing accommodation for small businesses.
But Coun Paul Andrews told Stephen Pratt, the Government planning inspector overseeing the hearings, the plans would effectively “urbanise” Malton and Norton which would then lose their character.
“If you concentrate everything into a small corner of the district you are making things difficult for people in the rest of the district to find employment in Ryedale,” he told the inquiry at Ryedale House.
He felt that any new land allocated for employment should be proportionate to what already exists.
He argued that concentrating all or most of the businesses in one particular place meant people in outlying areas would have to travel there and that would cause more carbon emissions.
Mike Potter, of Pickering Civic Society, said he wanted to see the town attract whatever reasonable levels of employment they could to the area since so much was already based on tourism, retirement and commuters.
He could see the advantages of providing more employment in Pickering but was concerned to ensure there was a gradual growth.
Daniel Wheelwright, forward planning officer at Ryedale District Council, explained the focus had been on Malton and Norton because that was where the demand was, and if building for employment did not take place there then it would go outside the district.
He also stressed the proposed strategy would not change the character and role of those settlements and the council was also supportive of economic development outside the towns and in the villages.
The council’s head of economy, Julian Rudd, said the strategy was aimed at ensuring that people who did not want to drive to York, Scarborough or Leeds could find better paid skilled work in Ryedale.
He produced figures which showed the percentage of “elementary” work was higher in Ryedale compared with other surrounding areas, while jobs at managerial and technical levels were lower than elsewhere.
“Unless we adopt a more strategical approach, we will just see a continuation of that trend and this authority does not wish to see that,” said Mr Rudd.
The inquiry was adjourned yesterday (Tuesday) and will resume again on October 9 and 10.