PLANS to relocate Malton’s livestock market remain up in the air after district councillors failed to agree on a way forward for the project.

In October, members of Ryedale District Council’s (RDC) policy and resources committee recommended not to commit taxpayers’ money to relocating Malton livestock market from the town centre to a new council-owned facility at Eden Business Park, near Malton, and instead resolved to support farmers and developers to deliver the scheme through private funds.

However, at a meeting of the full council last Thursday, the recommendation was rejected by members, who opposed the Conservative-led proposals.

The future of Malton’s town centre livestock mart was thrown into doubt when the lease at its current site expired in October 2013.

Plans for a new market at Eden Business Camp were granted planning permission by RDC the following August.

The Fitzwilliam Malton Estate, which owns the present livestock market site, has planning permission for a three-storey car park, a public square and retailing outlets on the land. It has since granted a number of extensions to allow the market to continue on its present site and last year said it was reviewing other options for the two-acre site.

In December 2018, councillors agreed to spend £50,000 on a report looking into a business

case for relocating the livestock market.

Last July councillors were told Align Property Partners had been commissioned to undertake this work, and had submitted two reports; an options’ appraisal and a business case, which recommended that the council supports a relocation of the livestock market to the business park.

Estimates suggested the new market could cost up to £6m, with a possible council contribution in excess of £4m.

Cllr Keane Duncan, leader of RDC, said the report presented no clear way forward and he could not identify a consensus across the council for a particular option.

Cllr Duncan said: “The Conservatives continue to believe that up to £4m of taxpayers’ should not be spent on delivering this scheme.

“While we want to retain a livestock market in the district, we fundamentally believe that private enterprise should make it happen, not the public purse.

“That’s why we are happy to work with and support the farmers and auctioneers in their endeavour,

but not manage the project ourselves. We will now need to take stock of the situation and consider our next steps.”

Cllr Lindsay Burr said: “This is the best Christmas present ever that the baby is not being thrown out with the bath water.

“I supported that the council looks for the market to be a central part of a food hub.

“It’s very wrong for the Conservatives to say any money has been pledged or talked about and inflammatory figures of £4m is stretching the truth.

“The Conservative party is not the majority and they do not want to listen to other councillors’ views. A solution must be found and where their is a will we will find a way.”

Cllr Burr added: “It’s a shame the leader of the Conservatives said on Thursday we want nothing to do with this, I felt that’s not representing the majority of the council.

“I totally believe in relocation and this issue is still alive and kicking and has not been disregarded.”

A spokesman for Malton and Ryedale Farmers Livestock Market Company Ltd said they did not wish to comment.