Store plan that despoils future of town

From: The Hon Simon Howard, Castle Howard; The Hon Sir Richard Storey, Settrington; the Dowager Lady Middleton, Birdsall; Lady Clarissa Collin, Pockley; the Earl and Countess of Mexborough, Hawnby; Sir Richard Beckett, Rievaulx; Jake Duncombe, Duncombe Park; Nicholas Wrigley, Ganton; James Fenwick, Terrington, and Prof Oliver James, Sleighthomedale.

FOLLOWING a major report in the Daily Telegraph on Saturday written by broadcaster Selina Scott, the great and the good of the Malton community – Yorkshire’s finest, Tesco might call them – have put their names to the following open letter.

An imminent threat is looming over the historic and unspoiled market town of Malton in North Yorkshire.

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While its people, its businesses, its draft Neighbourhood Plan and its town council overwhelmingly want to take a once-only opportunity to revive the town centre with a sensitive redevelopment of the old livestock market, they face having an alternative and damaging asset-stripping scheme foisted on them.

This threat comes from Ryedale District Council, which wants to sell off a car park to the highest bidder for a Tesco superstore – with the proceeds earmarked for spending elsewhere. The same council is the planning authority that would grant, or refuse, both proposals. The town can only take one.

Whereas the livestock market scheme, involving a high quality food store, additional smaller retail units to attract modern high street shops to Malton, plus parking, is recognised as likely to bring more customers to existing retailers, a superstore selling everything would draw them away, threatening established businesses, and change the very nature of a town cherished by its people as a jewel in the beautiful Derwent Valley.

The first plan is the key to reviving the town centre. The second allows a cuckoo in the nest that pushes its more vulnerable nestlings out in order to grab every morsel that’s going. The one protects, and invests in the future. The other despoils, and clouds the future.

We are recording our support for the scheme that Malton itself has opted for. We call upon the District Council to uphold national and local planning policies to protect the vitality and viability of town centres, and to respect the clear will of the people of Malton. If localism is to have any real meaning, the District Council’s short-term gain must not be their long-term pain.

The full list of subscribers to this letter also includes:

Martin Arnold, Stainburn; Thomas Black, Denton Julian and Laura Boddy, Whitwell; Sir John Boyd, former ambassador in Tokyo, and Lady Boyd, Kendal; David and Rosalie Butler-Adams, Holtby; Carla Carlisle, “Spectator” in Country Life magazine; Jeremy and Vivien Cassel, Westow; Charlie Charters, Barton le Willows; Fred Collin, Bransdale; Olivia Cunliffe-Lister, Burton Agnes; Ronald Duncan, Otley; Mark Evans, Brompton; Lady Feversham, Helmsley; Charles and Rosalind Forbes-Adam, Escrick; Nigel Forbes-Adam, Byland Abbey; Joe Goodhart, Kirkbyunderdale; Sir Nicholas Hewitt, Huttons Ambo; Lady Holderness, Windsor; Benedict Hoskyns-Abrahall, Richmond; Jane Ingham, York; Juliet Jowitt, Ripon; Lord Manton, Market Weighton; Oliver and Lif Marriott, Aldbrough, near Hull; Baroness Masham of Ilton, Masham; Charles Maxsted, Brough; Helen McCabe, Penzance; Sir Anthony and Lady Milnes Coates, Helperby; Jonathan and Davina Morley, Hovingham; Mark and Kate Preston, Eddlethorpe, Malton; Brig. and Mrs Roger Preston, Westow; Guy Reed, Copgrove Hall Stud, Harrogate; Dr Ingrid Roscoe, Nun Monkton; Piers and Angela Shepherd, Slingsby; Malcolm Shields, Beverley; Humphrey and Julia Smith, Tadcaster Sir Richard Storey, Malton; John Sturdy, Old Malton; Oliver Sutton, Staxton; Sir Hugh Sykes, former chairman, Sheffield Development Corporation; Sir Tatton Sykes, Sledmere; Christopher and Camilla Tetley, Little Habton; Gerald Turton, Thirsk; Angela Vaux, Richmond; John and Sarah-Jane Voelcker, Norton John Warrack, president, Ryedale Festival, and Lucy Warrack, Rievaulx; Helen Wrigley, Potter Brompton; Col Edward York, Hutton Wandesley.

Star should stay out of gipsy row

From: David Quarrie, Lynden Way, Holgate, York.

I CANNOT understand why ex-actress Vanessa Redgrave wants to get involved with the dispute between the Basildon Council and the travellers at Dale Farm illegal camp site.

Her argument for supporting the travellers’ claims to stay on this site hold no water whatsoever.

She says their site is right next to a legal travellers site and before the illegal move, the site was an empty car park and a scrap yard – so what ?

That does not allow the law to be ignored nor broken.

The vast majority of the Essex citizens living near to this illegal encampment would prefer that the site had remained just as it was, prior to the 85 caravans and static homes arriving.

Others have to abide by the laws of the land, so why not Vanessa’s new friends?

Cheap food behind obesity

From: John Rookes, Bramley, Rotherham.

THE availability of cheap alcohol from the supermarkets is blamed for the rise in binge drinking. What about cheap food?

During, and immediately after the Second World War when food was scarce and at a premium, there were no problems with obesity. In these austere times the supermarkets are reporting no drop in food sales, so is there a link?