PLANS for a multimillion-pound development which will see Malton Livestock Market moved close to Eden Camp Museum and make the town “the capital of Ryedale” have been approved.

A prominent objector claimed that the people involved in the scheme were holding the town to ransom.

But an extraordinary meeting of Ryedale District Council’s planning committee heard from planning chief Gary Housden that there was no alternative brownfield site that would be suitable for such a scheme.

After a long debate, the scheme was agreed by a majority of five for, one against and one abstention.

It will now have to be referred to the Secretary of State for Local Government and the Communities as a requirement of the consultation procedures because of the size of the development.

Mr Housden, the head of planning, pointed out in a report that the current livestock operation was subject to a short rolling lease with no security of tenure so an alternative site and a modern purpose-built facility was required to protect it.

The scheme, which will also include a new roundabout on the Edenhouse Road and the A169, will, in part, be funded by three new housing developments in Malton which were also approved despite some misgivings.

Derek Watson, director of the Livestock Market Company, told the meeting the market had gone from strength to strength.“We do need and have a chance to build a new market which will support and enhance the future of Ryedale’s livestock farmers.

“This will help the banks, shops, accountants and solicitors and will see more people coming to it bringing more money into the area,” he said adding: “It will make Malton the capital of Ryedale.”

But Councillor Paul Andrews, who is not a member of the committee, but who was in the public seating area and was allowed to speak, strongly objected to the scheme.

He said that other, less controversial sites, were available. But the livestock market operators and the trust had chosen to “hold the town to ransom” by telling everybody that unless they could have the “enabling” development the market would cease to exist.