NORTON Town Council is to fight plans to build a petrol station and shop on derelict land in the town.

The move follows the decision by Ryedale District Council (RDC) not to contest an appeal by BP against the rejection of the company’s original application.

RDC’s planning committee unanimously rejected e original application, which included the construction of a BP petrol station, Marks & Spencer food store and Wild Bean coffee shop, with parking, on the former Malton Clothing factory site in Welham Road, last August.

Planning officers deemed the Malton livestock market site in Horsemarket Road a better site, partly due to a lower flood risk.

However, in a report to the planning committee which met in March, members were told the applicant has now appealed against this decision, and included new information which demonstrates why the livestock market is not suitable for the proposed development.

Officers said that to attempt to defend this appeal in light of this new information would be unreasonable and is likely to put the council at serious risk of an award of cost.

However, at an extraordinary meeting, Norton town councillors resolved to continue with the appeal with the support of Malton Town Council.

Cllr David Lloyd-Williams said they had spoken to Mike Gwilliam, a retired senior planning officer, who had offered his services in making a “third party” appeal. “Mr Gwilliam explained to members that the planning process had changed and that third parties now had a greater voice and provided that the appeal was not considered frivolous there should be no question of costs being made against the council,” he said.

“The appeal would be able to put forward points not made by the planning authority and in order to do this there would be a requirement for more traffic information on top of that provided by the highway authority modelling.”

Cllr Sharon Cawte said: “We need to show that we won’t be pushed around by the powers that be.

“It will turn the town into more chaos.”

Norton mayor Cllr Ray King said: “I am fully behind this appeal but we must ensure the town council is fully informed of any developments before any action is taken.”

Members agreed to ask the Planning Inspectorate to continue with the appeal and that Mr Gwilliam be authorised to attend the hearing along with Cllr Paul Andrews, mayor of Malton Town Council.