Fitzwilliam Estate applies for Judicial Review over Ryedale District Council’s Wentworth Street Car Park Planning Decision.
Fitzwilliam Malton Estate has issued a claim seeking permission to initiate a judicial review of Ryedale District Council’s decision to grant planning permission for the construction of a superstore on Wentworth Street Car Park in Malton. It is the latest twist in a long running saga which has seen the District Council grant itself planning permission twice for land it owns. The decision to seek judicial review will be welcome news to the thousands of local people who opposed the district council’s plans.
The question will be asked of the Planning Court, which deals with all judicial reviews and statutory challenges involving planning matters including appeals and applications relating to planning permissions.
In a press statement Roddy Bushell, Estate Manager of Fitzwilliam Malton Estate, said: “A judicial review is the only way Malton Estate can show that the Councillors’ decision was taken on what I believe to be inadequate and wrong advice and it is therefore an unlawful decision which should not stand.
“This matter is of great concern to Malton as the flawed planning consent for a speculative development is creating uncertainty, which in turn is preventing real investment in the town. The Estate and Booths are prepared to invest around £15m in the town centre livestock market site. However, this will not proceed while there is this uncertainty hanging over the future of a possible new superstore nearby.” Mr Bushell continued: “Of course there is a quick resolution available. RDC should take independent legal advice that will tell them that this is a mirror image of what happened after the last time they tried to give consent on this site; when on appeal, they accepted their decision was flawed and they had to pay the Estate’s legal fees. The same result is likely again, and yet RDC could accept it, without a court judge having to tell them, so the town can move on. “Indeed, it is irresponsible if RDC do not accept their decision is flawed. They are the stewards of the local economy and it goes against every test of public opinion for them to continue to prevent investment in the town in favour of a speculative development, of their own site, that looks as though it will never happen now that Tesco plc has run out of funds to develop new stores.
“If the Planning Court agrees that there is good cause to review the decision, then the process could be completed within six months. Malton will be relieved that a resolution can be expected to this long-running saga within a few months, come what may. Let us not forget that RDC could end the matter right away by accepting their Councillors’ decision was flawed due it being based on inadequate advice.”
The proposal to build a superstore on Wentworth Street Car Park was opposed by Malton and Norton Town Councils, by the local business community, and by the overwhelming majority of local people. They will all wish the Estate well in this latest attempt to make Ryedale District Council see sense.
Pickles bottles out.
The Secretary of State for Planning has chosen not to object to Ryedale District Council’s decision to approve GMI Holbeck’s retail plans for Malton’s Wentworth Street Car Park – a plan in which the Council have a direct financial interest.
Following the Council’s decision to approve the development of the town’s Wentworth Street Car Park site back in April, opponents of the development including the Fitzwilliam Malton Estate requested that the plans be considered by the Secretary of State in a bid for the proposal to be independently reviewed. Mr Pickles has chosen not to take that course.
This is bad news for Malton. Roddy Bushell, the Fitzwilliam Malton Estate’s manager, says “Many people in Malton will be confused and appalled that the Secretary of State – after a lengthy and unexplained delay – has chosen to do absolutely nothing about the obviously defective planning procedure by which Ryedale District Council has granted permission for a superstore on its own Wentworth Street Car Park. By requiring an independent scrutiny of the proposal, he could have given this community its only opportunity to test the convenient evidence on which it relied.”
The Council’s plans ignore the Government’s own ‘town centre first’ policy. In turning a blind eye to the matter, the Secretary of State says he has relied on another Government policy which states that planning decisions should be taken locally. For Malton, this policy has not merely failed, but has worked against its intentions. The large majority of the Malton community passionately oppose the Council’s superstore and are enthusiastically in favour of the livestock market redevelopment to revitalise the town centre.
We cannot believe that Government intended that a district council, which stands to benefit financially from a planning consent, can ignore National Planning Policy without any independent scrutiny.
In the meantime the supermarket chains (like Tesco, who are the intended occupant of a store on the Wentworth Street Car Park) are having to change strategies in an ever-changing retail scene and there is no indication of any retailer having any interest in setting up on Wentworth Street Car Park. On the other hand, we’re told that Booths remain engaged with the design of the town centre Livestock Market development. The final details of that planning permission will go before Ryedale District Council in October after which the Council have 13 weeks to make their decision.
So, the next few months are going to be very important for our town – but then, when has that not been the case?
MASS urges Pickles to act to call in Ryedale’s decision on
Wentworth Street Car Park. Please do the same.
Local planning authorities will be able to evade the government’s “town centre first” policy and the evidence adopted in the creation of a Local Plan unless the decision by Ryedale District Council effectively to give itself planning permission for the development of the Wentworth Street Car Park is forced by government to be tested in an independent review.
That is the case put to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, by the Fitzwilliam Estate who, along with local traders and campaigners, have united as MASS to oppose the proposed development.
The Secretary of State has powers to “call in” a council’s planning decision for review and is urged to do so since Ryedale’s decision would have nationwide implications which could have significant effects beyond its immediate locality.
If you support MASS please make your own representations to Eric Pickles.
His contact details are as follows:
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 4428
Fax: 020 7219 2783
Department for Communities and Local Government, Eland House, Bressenden Place, London, SW1E 5DU
Tel: 030 3444 0000
Web & Social media
Our kind of town
“Independent shops are the backbone of Malton,” says Jez Swallow, owner of Smash Menswear in Finkle Street, being interviewed in June’s issue of Yorkshire Life Magazine. ‘The sheer breadth on offer is not something that can be reflected in cities, where the big-name chain stores are king.”
Our sentiments exactly, sentiments which we could wish were shared by those members of the Ryedale District Council Planning Committee who voted to approve plans for the building of a superstore on Wentworth Street Car Park in defiance of overwhelming local opposition.
We are still hoping that this decision will be called in by the Secretary of State but in the meantime Yorkshire Life are providing the opportunity for you to have your say. Let them know your views by emailing feedback@yorkshìrelife co.uk, tweeting @Yorkshire_Life or writing to Yorkshre Life, 1200 Century Way Leeds, LS15 8ZA
A useful lesson from history
There is an excellent new posting on Emmas Malton Journal a series of essays, mostly on the people, businesses and organisations in and around Malton that give the town its unique make-up.
The new posting reflects on the responsibility and humilty shown by Edmund Burke (who was MP for Malton between 1780 and 1794) Rockingham and the 18th century Whigs and sharply contrasts this with the arrogance and irresponsibility of the local Conservative ruling party on Ryedale District Council. It is well worth reading here
A shameful bit of business
By a majority of six to four Ryedale District Council planning committee voted on 25th April 2014 to approve the proposal to build a superstore on Wentworth Street Car Park, effectively giving itself planning permission. The vote was along party lines with all those voting for the application being members of the Conservative group. Two of them said openly that the Council should cash in on the sale of the asset to its chosen developer, GMI Holbeck.
In voting for the application these six members ignored the decision of the planning inspector from the previous appeal; their own local plan; substantial and credible questions about the data used to justify the application; threats to existing planned projects in Malton; threats to existing businesses and jobs; and overwhelming public opposition to the proposal from residents and businesses in Malton and the surrounding area. One councillor said she found the scale of the opposition (in excess of 4000 mostly local signatures) ‘unimpressive’.
It was a shameful business, the consequences of which will be far-reaching for Malton. It was, too, a terrible night for any notion that local views should carry weight in the planning process.
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 and its online counterpart has resulted in excess of 4000 signatories.
More than 4000 people signed our petitions…
Whilst, 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!”
MASS is led by Totally Locally Malton & Norton, the Malton & Norton Chamber of Trade and Fitzwilliam Malton Estate, working together. A spokesperson for MASS says that although the campaign generated nationwide interest, the overwhelming majority of signatories were 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.
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!’