A CAMPAIGN group has said it is ‘horrified’ at proposals for a link road to the A64 which would cut through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The West Malton Residents Group has raised concerns over the Malton and Norton Joint Neighbourhood Plan which includes plans for a link road and Castle Howard Road/A64 junction which they say threatens the Howardian Hill AONB and local green space allocation.

The Malton and Norton Joint Neighbourhood Plan Final Submission Draft went to the two town councils for a vote last month.

Whilst it was approved by Norton, a vote was postponed by Malton Town Council to allow the authority to address the concerns raised by Councillor Ian Conlan, who is also a member of the West Malton Residents Group.

Cllr Conlan said he has subsequently drawn attention to a proposal in the Plan for a link road between Broughton Road and Castle Howard Road/Braygate Street, and a junction of Castle Howard Road/Braygate Street with the A64, which would cut right across the southern end of the Long Plantation within the eastern boundary of the Howardian Hills AONB, and the access from both Middlecave Road footpath and Castle Howard Road itself.

He said: “This particular proposal appears to have gone under the radar.

“Residents are horrified by the proposal and rightly suspect this betrays an intention to develop the High Malton site by planners, as they undermine the integrity and shatter the tranquil character of the Plantation within the Eastern boundary of the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty so beloved of residents who walk this on a daily basis.”

“It also flies in the face of the reasoning behind the cutting created for the A64 bypass, which was to minimise the impact on this sensitive landscape.”

Cllr Conlan said: “Why would planners designate the Plantation Green Space on the one hand, and then drive a road through it on the other, whilst denying Green Space designation to High Malton where development has already been turned down once already because of the impact on the setting of the AONB?

“ If this Plan returns to council unamended, I am pledged to oppose it, and I believe other councillors will back me on that. It would be far better to take the time to get a better Plan in place that has the full backing of all councillors to recommend to the people of Malton and Norton, that does not threaten to take away their cherished access to protected countryside in the name of unconstrained development.”

Following public consultation the draft Plan is due to be submitted to Ryedale District Council (RDC) to advertise for any further comment and to organise an independent examination.

If approved, the policies in the Plan must be taken into consideration when deciding future planning applications. The plan can be viewed at www.malton-tc.gov.uk/malton-norton-neighbourhood-plan.