Do not vote for this half-baked plan : 8th August 2010

The Ryedale Plan will go out for consultation later this month. Planning documents do not make for exciting light reading, but none could have more disastrous implications than this one. It is therefore extremely important for residents to know some of its most far-reaching consequences. So please spare a moment and read this article.


The last plan was rejected by a government inspector about three years ago. One of its requirements was the delivery of over 50% of all new houses to Malton and Norton. There were strong objections to this. Ryedale has learnt nothing. The new plan is worse: it proposes not less than 50% (i.e. 1500) new houses should be in Malton and Norton. There is no cap on this figure.


The housing figures come from a regional document called the Regional Spatial Strategy (“RSS”). The new coalition government has decreed that the housing targets in the RSS no longer have effect and every council can decide its own housing targets, provided their decision is evidence based. This disposes of the last of the council’s reasons for its imposition on Malton and Norton. However, the council has decided to press on regardless with the RSS figures. The need for haste is not understood. The Council does still need to identify a five year housing land supply of deliverable sites, but this is something which can be carried out as a separate exercise.


On the issue of retail, the plan is clearly designed to pave the way for a new supermarket on Wentworth Street Car Park. The plan doesn’t say so specifically, but specifies a requirement for 2,801 net square metres of food retailing space to be directed to Malton – in other words a supermarket of similar size to Morison’s. This is to be provided somewhere on a “northern arc” which stretches from the Cattle Market to Wentworth Street Car Park and includes “underused” land.


Ryedale of course never makes mistakes. So rather than admitting they’ve priced themselves out of business on Wentworth Street Car Park, they’ll sell it instead.


All their decisions on the LDF so far have been made without a highways strategy in place. The only highways strategy we have is one which has not yet been approved by the Council and is highly controversial. It seems to be based on the premise that, as the key junctions in Malton are already over capacity, it’s perfectly acceptable if they’re made even worse. Further, there are no plans to even consider building a Broughton Road interchange with the A64 until after 2026. So all the traffic unleashed by the big new supermarket and the 1500 PLUS new houses will be concentrated in the existing town centres. What a mess!


Last week, when considering the draft for consultation the Council rejected an amendment I put forward to postpone the housing part of the LDF until a traffic strategy is in place. Half way through the debate on the LDF housing strategy, they passed a closure motion which prevented members from even considering the remaining two thirds of the document, including the section on supermarkets.  Members were far more keen on getting home than in having a thorough debate.



So this half-baked document is going out for consultation virtually on the nod


I join Councillor Lindsay Burr in asking readers not to vote for this plan. Please make sure you do respond to the consultation and write and tell the Council you don’t like the plan.



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