A compromise solution is needed for the Cattle Market issue - 23rd December 2007


It is not good for a town when its two principle businesses fall out with each other, and the Cattle Market is an issue which should concern everybody. It is also fair that Malton Ward residents should know what their ward councillor thinks about it, so far. I say “so far”, because I am still open to persuasion by anybody who disagrees with me.


Firstly, as a ward member, my job is to look at what is in the best interest of the town.


Secondly, it is by no means certain that planning permission will be granted. If it is not granted, one would hope that part of the land will be retained as a cattle market and the rest re-developed. I rather fear that the redevelopment of the Estate’s retained land would be residential, and, if so, I am not sure this would be best.


Thirdly, the Estate’s proposal to make a twenty million pound investment in Malton has to be welcomed with open arms, provided this will benefit the existing town and its businesses. An investment of Twenty million pounds in the town  is not something to be sneezed at!


So, will the FitzWilliam Estate’s proposals benefit the town? I am not a property expert, but do know a little about recent history. The salient point is that the Estate has always been reluctant to sell land freehold, and has a policy of retaining its interest in its land and of leasing its commercial and other properties. Nothing has happened to suggest a change of policy is on its way. That being so, it is reasonable to suppose that the Estate’s experts have carefully considered the likely impact of their proposals on their client’s existing investment and expect the new development to enhance what they already own.


Fourthly, everybody agrees that both the town and its businesses benefit from having its own cattle market. The question is: can it be moved?


There are certainly possible alternative locations, including one by Showfield Lane. This site is not far from the present location of the cattle market, and is unlikely to be any less convenient for farmers, particularly in terms of access. It is also less than a five minute walk to Wheelgate, and so well within the reach of shops, restaurants and pubs.


If  an acceptable alternative location can be found, the next question is how to raise the necessary cash (possibly £3M). This is where I think Ryedale District Council can help. The Council has power under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act to require a developer to enter into an agreement to provide what is commonly known as “planning gain”, and I believe this power could be used to require the Estate to provide a substantial contribution towards the cost of a new market.


On 28th November, I suggested to Malton Town Council that they remind Ryedale of their powers under Section 106, and the Town Council agreed to recommend that the estate be required to enter into such an agreement


However, if the Estate were to be given planning permission for their proposed redevelopment of the existing cattle market subject to their contributing to the building of a new one on a different site, it is reasonable to expect that they would want to protect their interest. In other words, the Estate would reasonably expect to be able to get back at least a share of the value of their expenditure, if the new cattle market fails and the land is sold for, say, houses. It is legally possible for landowners to secure their interests in this kind of situation by the use of what are known as “restrictive covenants” in the legal land transfer document.


I believe that, if all the parties involved in this matter were to get together with the Council’s officers, it should be possible to settle this matter in a way which will be best for the town. Let us hope that this is what the parties really want and that a reasonable compromise can be achieved.









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