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Wentworth Street supermarket protest is taken to London
A PETITION has been handed in to Government by campaigners against controversial plans to build a supermarket in Malton.
The mayor of Malton, Coun Jason Fitzgerald-Smith, and the chairman of Malton and Norton Business in Action, Denys Townsend, presented a 2,000 signature file to the offices of Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, in London.
They want him to “call in” the planning application for Wentworth Street car park as they believe Ryedale District Council faces a conflict of interest due to the £5 million windfall it will earn if the car park is sold.
The authority, however, has argued that it is “standard practice” for planning committees to make such decisions.
Coun Fitzgerald-Smith said: “I think with all the different and separate planning applications there has to be a total independent adjudication for what is right for Malton and not what is right for each individual interest.
“It demonstrates the strong feelings of concern about selling Wentworth Street car park for yet another supermarket, and shows there’s an outcry that we are over-furbished with supermarkets and how the need for a car park becomes more of a requirement in the future for events such as the recent food lovers’ market. Where are more than 2,000 people going to park?” GMI Holbeck Land, which hopes to build the supermarket on the town’s Wentworth Street car park, claim that the new store would create up to 290 local jobs, along with supply chain effects that will benefit local businesses, increasing trade and ensuring that local independent businesses continue to thrive.
Robert Firth, the developers’ director, has also said the new store will provide 450 spaces as opposed to the current 371. Plans were also submitted in May by the Fitzwilliam Estate for a “small, good-quality, food-only” store, together with three non-food units on the livestock market site.
The petition was put into shops in Malton during September, when more than 2,000 people added their signatures backing the view that the council should not make the decision about whether to grant planning permission for Wentworth Street car park.
A Ryedale District Council spokesman said the decision to call in the application lies with the Secretary of State, but it was not expected to be called in.
He said a thorough consultation process was carried out with 1,400 people attending various council run events and more than 500 people responding to a questionnaire on retail provision in Malton and Norton.
He said: “The suggestion that the decision-making process is undemocratic is not correct as it will be elected members from across Ryedale District who will make the decision acting on officer advice and after they have heard all the pros and cons.”