I HAVE followed closely the debate on the future of Malton as a business and shopping centre over recent weeks and there are a few points that I find confusing.

The town’s future is important to everyone. It is a frequent topic of conversation whenever a few people meet and I have yet to hear anyone speak up in favour of another supermarket in the town.

Ryedale Council seems pre-occupied with the necessity for another supermarket. I have not seen any figures from the council or read a statement which proves the need for another huge store. If one is built, it will undoubtedly cause the closures of existing stores in the town, which is the exact opposite of the council’s stated aims.

The feeling is that the council have an obsession with building a new supermarket and is intent on continuing with this policy come what may. The opinions of local people are being ignored again.

This came to a head last week when the council decided to ignore a legal attempt by the Fitzwilliam Estate to enter into “meaningful negotiations” and to go ahead with its plans anyway.

Comments from some of the councillors, as reported in this newspaper, show how divorced they are from reality and display a degree of arrogance which is breathtaking.

Roddy Bushell and the Fitzwilliam Estate are often criticised, but this time they certainly deserve our thanks for taking this stand.

One councillor commented that any decision would lead to a “free- for-all” in planning – in other words do not interfere with our plans. Another councillor called the legal attempt to enter into discussion “a shameless attempt to derail the business of council” and stated “attempts have always come from the non-stop negative brigade”. I do not appreciate being referred to as one of a “negative brigade”.

That councillor should apologise to the vast majority of the community who he refers to as negative.

If the intention of the council is eventually to bring more trade to Malton then this will necessitate more car parking space, but if the council has already permitted another supermarket to be built on the car park where are the increasing number of cars going to park? How will the council differentiate between cars parking for the supermarket, which will demand free parking, and those coming to the town for more usual shopping?

The argument that supermarkets provide jobs is a red herring. It may provide a few low-paid jobs in the early days, but it will undoubtedly cause existing shops to close with the loss of better quality jobs. Let us not forget that all the obscene profits made by the super store will be taken out of Malton to disappear into the share out at head office.

There are some councillors who show common sense over this obsession and we must be thankful for this, but these councillors ideas seem to be ignored.

Councillor Paul Andrews, who regularly exhibits a high degree of knowledge on topical matters, is often mocked by some councillors and are at times downright insulting to him. Well done these councillors; keep up the good work.

To change the subject I must say that the food festival in Malton last Saturday was a huge success.

It was good to see the Market Place being used for its traditional purpose, a market, and not as a car park.

It was great to see a large number of people walking about without fear of traffic, enjoying themselves as well as spending money. All praise to those who organised it.

John Sturdy, Old Malton