MASS petition handed in to Ryedale District Council
A small group of the huge number of people who have supported Malton against the Superstore presented the results of a paper petition to Shaun Robson, Planning Officer, Ryedale District Council on 15th April.As already reported, the petition has resulted in a thumping 3154 signatories, in addition to an online petition which has attracted 650 signatories.
We understand that the petition is not in time for inclusion on the agenda for 24th April 2014 but that the message of the petition and the number of signatories will be formally and publicly reported at the meeting to members of the planning committee, so that it is taken into account as part of the planning debate and decision.
MASS has received an assurance from RDC’s Petitions Officer that this petition itself will be placed on the table before the planning committee at the meeting on 24th April.
The contents of the package presented were:
Printed sheet: ‘Say No To A Superstore in Malton
Leaflet: ‘An edge of town superstore on Wentworth Street car park will damage Malton’s small businesses. It will also mean that the £15 million investment cannot go ahead to re-vitalise the livestock market site in Malton town centre.’
Original petition sheets signed by 3154 people.
Printed online petition sheets signed by 650 people.
Printed sheets of all comments made online.
Just a reminder that the planning meeting will take place at 6pm on 24th April 2014 in the West Wing at Malton School, Middlecave Road.
Be there if you can!
More than 3800 people have signed our petition so far
The MASS petition, ‘Say No to a Superstore in Malton’, which has been available in shops and businesses all over Malton and Norton over the past month, has been signed by a record number of people – 3154, with a further 650 signing the online version – making a total of 3804 signatories.
In sharp contrast, the superstore developers, calling themselves all4malton, announced in a statement on 3rd April that there were 92 people in favour of a superstore * Emma Brooksbank of Totally Locally commented “The developers call their website all4malton: the figures themselves show quite how inappropriate that name is!”
The MASS petition is now part of the official consultation and must be formally reported at the planning meeting, to be taken account of in the decision-making process. This should give local people a voice in the crucial decision on 24th April about the future of Wentworth Street car park.
MASS is led by Totally Locally Malton & Norton, the Malton & Norton Chamber of Trade and Fitzwilliam Malton Estate, working together. Representatives will be at Ryedale District Council offices tomorrow to deliver the petition to the planning officer.
A spokesperson for MASS says that although the campaign has generated nationwide interest, the overwhelming majority of signatories are from the local area – from the community of Malton, Old Malton and Norton – the people who know the town well, have a clear idea of its distinct heritage and an equally clear idea of the kind of future they want for Malton and Norton – which they have made very plain does not include a superstore on the car park.
A lot of comments have been made by signatories to the online petition at www.maltonsfuture.co.uk . You can read some of them by clicking on the link to the right in Additional Notes and Links .
*See @all4malton tweet on 3rd April.
Planning Meeting date is confirmed for Thursday 24th April
The planning meeting to decide the application to build a superstore on Wentworth Street Car park is now confirmed for 6pm on Thursday 24th April at Malton School.
Members of the public can attend so do come along to show your opposition to the project and, if you have not already done so, please sign our petition by clicking on this link or on the MASS icon further down this page!
MASS Demonstration : Saturday 15th March
Over 150 Malton folk gathered on Wentworth Street car park in the Saturday morning sunshine with children in pushchairs and dogs on leads. Guided by stewards so the traffic shouldn’t be interrupted, they marched peacefully along Wentworth Street, Princess Road, Newbiggin, St Michael’s Street and around the market place to the steps of the Old Town Hall, holding placards and chanting Save our Town… Save our Shops… Save our Jobs…
Short informative speeches were given by leaders of the community – Denys Townsend (Chamber of trade), David Lloyd Williams (Norton and Malton councillor and Area partnership), Paul Andrews (Malton and Ryedale district councillor) Elizabeth Shields (Norton and County councillor), Edward Legard (Ryedale district councillor, pictured above) Mike Skehan (Clerk to Malton town council, pictured below), and Selina Scott.
Town Clerk Mike Skehan reminded people that the town council had done a comprehensive survey of the community’s views and that the result had showed eighty per cent of people were against the development of the car park.
‘Why should we not have a Tesco on the car park?’ was shouted at the speakers by a man in the crowd. He got a spontaneous answer from a nearby marcher: ‘Because we already have a Lidl, an Asda, a Morrisons and a Sainsbury’s Local!’
Pleas for transparency and integrity at Ryedale District Council meeting
A large number of MASS supporters with placards gathered at the entrance to the Council offices before the meeting to make clear their opposition to the superstore, then filled the public gallery to hear the motion for the superstore application to be determined by full council rather than the planning committee being debated.
The Chair of the Council said it was perfectly normal for Councils to make planning decisions on their own land, but they have to be careful to make those decisions on proper planning grounds. It should be noted however that there are ten members of the planning committee, only one of which is a representative of Malton and Norton, although those towns have a quarter of the population of Ryedale.
Councillors in favour of the motion thought all 30 council members should have a say to make it more democratic and ensure the process and decision were more open and transparent. Cllr John Clark (in favour) commented on the competence of the Chairman of the Planning Committee (Cllr John Raper), pointing out that he had mishandled the the previous decision on the WSCP superstore application (March 2012) by prematurely ‘moving it for approval’ and effectively stifling debate. Cllr Clark also reminded councillors and the public of the recent planning fiasco in Kirbymoorside, noting that “the Chairman says he always goes with the officers’ recommendation on a tied vote”.
Conservative councillors opposed to the motion said it questioned the integrity of the planning committee and that those not on the planning committee could be accused of predetermination and would also not have appropriate planning training.
Cllr Edward Legard (in favour) said the motion had nothing to do with the integrity of the planning committee, that trying to make something more democratic is not immoral and that accusations of predetermination could equally be levelled at the planning committee. He said RDC were responsible for the “20 carat Horlicks” (costs of at least £200,000 for local taxpayers) from the wrong decision last time.
Edward Legard continued by pointing out that incorporating a ‘northern arc’ into the Local Plan was “an act of supreme arrogance” by Ryedale Council and that the ‘windfall’ from the sale of WSCP represented about half the annual budget (e.g. a huge financial incentive). He commented that if Sheffield, for example, were in a similar position, they would not be able to make a decision on their own asset.
Cllr Luke Ives (opposed) stated that the planning process is quasi judicial and that “politics plays no part in it whatsoever”. Cllr Linda Cowling (Council Leader) said the motion was “a blatant attempt to manipulate the democratic process.” She also categorically denied ever calling the people of Malton ‘moaning minnies’, saying those words were someone else’s. That was an astonishing assertion given that the York Press on 10th November 2010, reported her as saying: “And before it is mentioned, yes, the Scouts and the rifle club will also be well looked after if the moaning minnies in Malton are not successful in stopping this exciting development going ahead.”
Cllr Paul Andrews, who brought the motion, commented that it was “unprincipled, immoral and undemocratic” not to permit all councillors to make a decision on something so important which would affect the whole of Ryedale, not only Malton and Norton. Cllr John Clark said: “Let full council carry the can for this.”
The motion was put to the vote: 12 for and 15 against.
The motion failed and the decision will be made by the planning committee, but the vote was much closer than in July 2010 when the council decided to sell the car park for a superstore and than in November 2010 when they chose the developer.
A new guide
We’ve produced a new guide to all the issue surrounding the latest planning application to build a superstore on Wentw0orth Street Car Park .
You can pick up a copy in any of the Town’s independent stores or download a copy by clicking on the link to print out at home.
MASS NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 2014
Join the MASS campaign
MASS – Malton Against Super Store – is led by Totally Locally Malton & Norton, Malton & Norton Chamber of Trade and Fitzwilliam Malton Estate working together.
All the signs are that a total disaster is about to befall Malton. An entirely avoidable disaster, which almost everyone can foresee, it seems, except the people who will bring it about.
Those who will bring it about are the majority of the elected members of Ryedale District Council, working with a Leeds property company, determined to force through a new use for Wentworth Street car park as a superstore to be operated by the likes of Tesco.
They have already tried this once and, in being told to think again by an independent Government Planning Inspector, the council was described as behaving unreasonably and by their actions to have wasted money. RDC were required to pay more than £148,000 in costs – a bill that we, as local taxpayers, of course are actually footing.
The Planning Inquiry found that continuing with the superstore proposal would damage Malton, while the alternative – which was granted planning permission by the Inspector after RDC had refused it – of redeveloping the livestock market site, would actually add to the town’s retail offer.
Every consultation and survey of townspeople and traders, whether done by the local press, the Chamber of Trade or Fitzwilliam Malton Estate, has come to the same conclusion by an overwhelming majority. There has been a well-attended protest march and two 2000-name petitions, one to the Council and the other to the Secretary of State. Malton Town Council is dead against the idea. All see it as a disaster for Malton.
So why has the Council not learned the lesson; why is this all coming round again? Because the Council and the developer will not take ‘no’ for an answer. Because RDC is content to defy the Malton electors again. Because they think there could be £5million on the table if they play their cards right. And the developers have shown they are ready to resort to underhand methods to try to get their way, by hiding their identity in a website whose purpose is to show support, a public consultation that failed to include large sections of the community likely to be hostile, and promises about cheap petrol they are not in a position to keep.
Between them they do not care
• that Malton’s traders fear for their livelihoods
• that the relocation and unbroken operation of the Livestock Market will be put in immediate jeopardy
• that the town centre revival based on its enlargement with the livestock market site will be halted
• that shoppers will be discouraged from going into the town centre because the car park site is so far separated from it
• and that Malton’s uniquely distinctive character will be a victim to an Anytown superstore selling everything
Our first goal is for the superstore to get the thumbs down. But even if it gets the OK from the planning committee like it did last time, – and the council leader has already told them how to vote (very publicly, using a letter in the press!) – the fight to stop it will go on.
The Fitzwilliam Malton Estate will have grounds for appeal, as they already have planning permission for a small food store on the livestock market site in the centre of the town which in law takes precedence, but which would be made unviable by a predatory retailer. An appeal would require a government decision or another inquiry, all with delays and uncertainties. And costs, which ultimately will fall on all of us. And meantime, all existing plans for the continuity of the Livestock Market, its relocation and the Estate’s £15million investment to redevelop the livestock market site in the town centre, would at best be on hold.
As Roddy Bushell, the Fitzwilliam’s estate manager recently wrote in the Yorkshire Post: “Malton is not merely unspoiled by unsympathetic, ugly, crass or characterless redevelopment. It is wonderfully served by a host of small, independent shops as well as a good selection of retail groups, including four supermarkets. It has retained its charm and individuality while reinventing itself as Yorkshire’s food capital.” All this is at risk.
Call to action!
The superstore planning application is due for decision soon. Please show your disapproval by signing an e-petition on https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/ryedale-district-council-say-no-to-a-superstore-in-malton
and by contacting any of the Ryedale District Councillors, see http://democracy.ryedale.gov.uk/mgMemberIndex.aspx?bcr=1
You can download this newsletter as a pdf file here: MASS February 2014 Newsletter (2)