I am concerned about the implications of the report on your front page on May 27 and the ability of your readers to understand what our district council is doing.

The report related to the council discussion about the letter from the Fitzwilliam Malton Estates (FME) solicitors to Ryedale District Council (RDC). I was not able to attend the council meeting as a member of the public because of a conflicting meeting.

The article reports discussion about the Local Development Framework (LDF). My simple description of the LDF is a Grand Plan for the whole of Ryedale for the next five to 15 years and, as described in Councillor Brian Cottam’s letter in the same edition on page 18, the LDF has not yet been written (I hope), let alone consulted on.

Your story gave the impression that FME was out to stop the LDF. This is not the case.

The relevant resolution at the Council meeting on Thursday, May 21, was not on the LDF but was, inter alia, on a strategy for Malton and Norton, as set out in the WSP report.

The resolution before councillors was to approve the full recommendation of a previous Police & Resources committee, the disputed part of which was as follows: That the Policy and Resources Committee recommend the following to the full council meeting on May 21 2009: (i) Endorse the recommendations in the WSP report and take these forward for consideration and consultation through the LDF process.

(ii) Include Wentworth Street Car Park in the June consultation for redevelopment for food retail and parking through the LDF process.

(iii) Approve that the study and supporting technical work be a material consideration in the decision making process in advance of the LDF (iv) Fully investigate through the LDF process, the potential for a comprehensive approach to the redevelopment of Malton town centre.

It was this part of the council business, particularly para (i), that the FME solicitors wrote to Ryedale District Council and the above was quoted verbatim on the first page of the letter.

It is alleged that the WSP report is flawed because significant conclusions are based on biased reports produced by Ryedale District Council officers. Specifically, it is the report on the Wentworth Street trial where all day charge of £1.50 was introduced for a trial period. I, Mr Bushell (FME) and Councillor David Lloyd Williams all gave evidence to the Policy & Resources Committee, identifying the alleged reporting bias and pointing out that stated required outcomes had not even been recorded.

I must assume that your reporter correctly reported the debate. I therefore conclude that councillors were not directed to the link between the letter and the above quoted resolution but were misdirected to consider the effect on the LDF. Given the short time available to them to consider the letter, the specific affected agenda item should at least have been adjourned and should not have been approved. Was this a deliberate attempt by officers and senior leaders to mislead councillors?

Councillor Robert Wainwright is quoted as saying “the LDF needed to be approved…..” No mention of WSP. Councillor Howard Keal is quoted as saying “I am dismayed by this shameless attempt to derail the business of the council”, implying that the FME and others have no right to question what RDC does.

He is further quoted as saying “a part of that change means bringing a supermarket to Wentworth Street Car Park”.

He appears to be trying to push a coach and horses through the planning regulations without a proper consultation. How arrogant!

Denys Townsend, Chairman, Malton and Norton Business in Action