“Save our Shops!
“Save our jobs!
“Save our town!”
That was the battle cry from campaigners as they marched through the streets of Malton on Saturday morning to protest against the proposals to build a supermarket on Wentworth Street Car Park.
Around 100 people, including television presenter Selina Scott and Malton Mayor Joan Lawrence, wielded placards as they tried to drum up support from residents before ending the march with a number of speeches outside the Town Hall.
The march was the latest protest against GMI Holbeck’s intention to build a supermarket on the car park, a move which the developer says will generate more footfall in Malton and attract more shoppers, benefitting existing retailers.
But protestors believe the store will have a detrimental effect on the town’s shops – and result in the loss of the car park, something they argue is needed with 1,500 new homes to be built in Malton and Norton.
Many of the people taking part in the march prefer the plans of the Fitzwilliam (Malton) Estate which has outline planning permission to build a store on Malton Livestock Market.
There were naysayers – the Mercury heard one shopper declare “We want Tescos!” and another member of the public was drowned out when he asked a question as to whether the Fitzwilliam Estate expected all the residents of its planned 500-home development at Castle Howard Road to go to their “small, exclusive supermarket” on the livestock market.
But Cllr Edward Legard said: “We will continue these few of us to fight to the last breath to ensure we don’t get a supermarket down on Wentworth Street Car Park when the alternative is an integrated development on the livestock market that will do everything to enhance this market town.”
And Selina Scott added: “In the Sunday Times, Malton is named as one of the 101 best places in the country in which to live,” she said. “If its left in the hands of Ryedale District Council and its inappropriate development, that will go down the list. This whole town and its shops are very fragile and if we don’t do anything about them we can kiss goodbye to them.”