THE Government has been urged to step in to decide on controversial supermarket plans in a North Yorkshire market town which have led to a public outcry.
The proposals to build a new superstore on the Wentworth Street car park site in Malton have led to a wave of opposition amid fears independent traders will be driven out of business. Broadcaster Selina Scott, who lives nearby, has led the campaign to prevent the development becoming a reality.
Calls have now been made for the Secretary of State for Local Government, Eric Pickles, to step in and hold a public inquiry.
Ryedale District Council will receive £5m for the sale of the car park, and councillors have claimed the public inquiry is needed to prevent the authority being accused of any bias while deciding if the supermarket plans submitted by Leeds-based GMI Holbeck should be approved.
Coun Edward Legard, the vice-chairman of the policy committee, called on Mr Pickles to hold the inquiry for the Wentworth Street proposals, as well as plans to re-develop the town’s livestock market. A smaller food store could be created on the site of the livestock market in a rival scheme put forward by the Fitzwilliam Estate.
Coun Legard, who has voiced his opposition to the Wentworth Street scheme, said: “I do believe that it would be in everyone’s interest if the plans were considered in an open and transparent manner at a public inquiry.
“This is necessary to avoid any risk of bias from the council when deciding on the plans.”
A motion from Coun Legard calling on the Government to step in was due to be considered at a full council meeting last night.