A LONG-AWAITED plan to safeguard a livestock market by building it a new home on the outskirts of Malton is set to take a major step forward tomorrow, when Ryedale councillors will be urged to back an ambitious plan to invest £3.2m in the venture.
The potential relocation of Malton Livestock Market has been the source of contentious debate since it was first threatened with closure more than a decade ago.
The North Yorkshire market town’s long-running auction mart, one of the biggest in the North, has been at its present site in the town centre for 80 years but is having to move because the landowner, Fitzwilliam Estate, has plans to redevelop the area.
The estate has already secured planning permission from Ryedale District Council for a project which includes a three-storey car park, a public square and retail outlets.
The site for the replacement livestock market also has planning permission, as part of the Eden Camp agri-food business park at Old Malton. Construction work is already well under way at the site, at the junction of the A64 trunk road on the Malton bypass and the A169, Malton to Pickering road.
Tomorrow, councillors are to be given three options for the livestock market scheme: to back the venture with £2.2m, under which the council would own the market on behalf of the community, to do nothing, which would result in the loss of the market altogether, or the third, preferred, option, to invest £3.2m, with the extra £1m used to build ancillary facilities including an office block for rent.
Under this third option, the authority expects to receive a rental income of about £80,000 per year, as well as the £20,000 paid by the auctioneers. Committee papers describe the market as “integral to the district’s economy, its cultural heritage and its identity”.
Coun Luke Ives, joint leader of the Conservative Group and senior spokesman for Ryedale District Council, said: “Without the intervention of the council there is a serious risk that the market will disappear, which would be a huge blow for farmers and the wider Ryedale economy.
"The proposal going before the committee provides a bold and deliverable way to resolve a decades-old problem of the market’s future, while helping to kickstart the wider Eden Camp Business Park.”
Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton, has backed the scheme, saying: “I applaud the council’s efforts to help find a permanent home for the livestock auction market which has such an important historic and economic connection to Malton as well as the region’s farmers and other businesses in the supply chain.”
Gary Housden, the council’s Specialist Services Lead Officer, said if the preferred option is backed, a detailed specification and costing exercise will be carried out and would be subject to a business case being made, at a cost of £150,000.