Ryedale Council have opted not to invest in a new livestock market in Malton - stating that it is not the best use of taxpayers' money.
Plans to relocate the existing market, which is threatened with closure, from the site in the town centre that it has occupied for more than 80 years have been in the pipeline for around a decade.
Malton's main landowners, the Fitzwilliam estate, have asked the livestock auctioneers to vacate the site in order for the area to be redeveloped. Plans include a three-storey car park, a public square and new shops.
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The long-running mart is one of the biggest in the north and Ryedale Council faced pressure from the agricultural community to preserve it and protect Malton's heritage as a cattle town.
The new site that had been earmarked for the livestock market is part of the Eden Camp agri-food business park at Old Malton, close to the A64.
The council was given the option of investing £2.2million in the venture in return for ownership on behalf of the community, or pledging £3.2million to build ancillary facilities including an office block which would generate around £80,000 in rent as well as the £20,000 from the auctioneers, who would be the market's tenants.
The development was marketed as an 'anchor' scheme to generate growth in the Eden Camp Business Park.
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However, councillors have now voted not to commit funds to the project, although they will support any private developer who wishes to build the new mart.
Their surveys estimated it could cost Ryedale Council more than £4million to bring to fruition and council officers recommended that the authority decline to be involved further.
Instead, the council will work to support farmers and businesses without making a financial commitment.
Leader of the council Coun Keane Duncan said:-
"This is a new council, and we've taken a fresh look at the proposals. We considered whether to put council funds into the scheme, but these are uncertain times and investing Ryedale taxpayers’ money into a big capital project comes with a risk.
“There is no clear way forward and our role in the scheme continues to be as controversial now as it was a year ago.
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“Ultimately, we do not feel this is an enterprise the council should take a direct role in, but we will continue to engage with and support third parties to bring their plans to fruition. The livestock market is an important facility for our district, and we want to see it flourish.”
A final vote will take place at a full council meeting in December.
Some local residents had expressed objection to the scheme, claiming that a livestock market was not essential to Malton's prosperity now that the town has developed as a popular food and drink destination and no longer depends on agriculture.
The Naylor-Leyland family, who own the Fitzwilliam estates at Malton and Wentworth, near Rotherham, have spearheaded a drive to diversify the market town's economy and attract more visitors. Malton is now renowned for its food festivals, cookery schools, artisan markets and independent cafes and delicatessens, as well as the patronage of famous chefs such as the late Antonio Carluccio, founder of Italian restaurant chain Carluccio's.