Taste of fame as Selina Scott to lead drive for local food

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BROADCASTER Selina Scott has been unveiled as the figurehead of a burgeoning drive to promote Yorkshire’s local produce after her outspoken criticism of the dominance of supermarket giants.

Ms Scott will take up the role of the president of the Malton Food Lovers Festival when the hugely successful event is staged again in May.

The writer and presenter has been a passionate campaigner for local food and retailers and has opposed plans for a new superstore which is due to open in the North Yorkshire town.

Malton and neighbouring Norton already have outlets from major chains including Morrisons and Sainsbury’s, and fears are growing that independent traders will be driven out of business with the arrival of a new supermarket.

Ms Scott, who lives close to Malton, has taken an increasingly active role in promoting local produce in recent months.

She officially opened the Malton Food Lovers’ Market in November, which will be held again on March 3. The market is the sister event to Malton’s food festival, which itself will be staged on May 19 and 20.

Ms Scott said: “The presentation of the stalls at the first market was of such quality I can only compliment the organisers and each of the producers for their remarkable effort.”

She has also led a bid to sign up high profile figures to oppose the supermarket plans in Malton. More than 50 of the region’s oldest-established and prominent families, along with leading public figures and business people, have put their names to an open letter as part of the campaign.

Councillors from Ryedale District Council voted in 2010 to sell Malton’s Wentworth Street car park, after seven companies expressed an interest in developing the site.

A planning application was submitted by the Leeds-based developers, GMI Holbeck Land, to the council in September last year.

Malton’s Food Lovers Festival was launched in 2009 and attracted more than 10,000 visitors last year, with appearances from celebrity chefs including food writer and broadcaster Tom Parker Bowles.

The festival’s organiser, Tom Naylor-Leyland, said he was delighted that Ms Scott had agreed to be the first president and paid tribute to her passion for “quality local food and drink”.