Ambitious plans to build a state-of-the-art new livestock market at Malton, unveiled last week by the Fitzwilliam Trust Corporation, have been given cautious support.
While the whole £7.5m development – earmarked for a site near the junctions of the A64 and A169, close to Eden Camp – was seen as providing a major opportunity to boost the Ryedale economy and provide new jobs, residents in nearby Old Malton told an open Town Council meeting that they were concerned about the impact of potential flooding.
But Charles Vyvyan, project manager for the trust, told councillors and residents that Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency had each given the scheme the green light.
He told the packed meeting: “There are three key things about the scheme. It will replace the existing market which is not fit for purpose and needs a new home and will enable other developments to come forward.”
It would include 45 hectares of employment land as well as the livestock market site. The overall scheme includes 300 homes being built which, said Mr Vyvyan would fit in with the newly approved Ryedale Local Plan, the development blueprint for homes and employment land over the 15 years.
The sites earmarked include the Showfield, Old Malton and Peasey Hill.
The house-building schemes were needed to “cross subsidise” the whole livestock market and business park scheme, he added.
As well as the market, agricultural companies and organisations had also expressed interest in locating on the development including a tractor dealership, two agricultural merchants, a veterinary practice, new headquarters for the Ginger Pig company which would relocate from Levisham and a satellite educational complex – believed to be Bishop Burton Agricultural College.
However a number of residents said they were concerned about flooding and sewage risks. Town Clerk, Mike Skehan, said: “We are looking for a permanent solution to the flooding problems not just flood alleviation equipment.”
But Mr Vyvyan replied: “Yorkshire Water have confirmed there is sufficient capacity for the sewage system for all the development sites.
“We will not get planning permission if we don’t prove we are going to reduce water run-off – our aim is a 30 per cent reduction.”
“We knew flooding would be a key issue. We have to hold water back in retention ponds. We are going to restrict water in times of any flooding at Old Malton.”
The development would see less heavy livestock traffic going through Malton and Norton, said Mr Vyvyan.
He added that the detailed studies had been done on a number of issues including highways, archaeology, newts, badgers, ecology, and wildlife reports.
Pat Foxton, chairman of the Malton and Ryedale Farmers’ Livestock Company, said: “Any scheme which saves the livestock market for Malton and benefits the farming industry, has got to be good.”
He warned that jobs would be at risk if the development did not go ahead.
“This is not a baited hook. We have got the responsibility to relocate the market – we only have a three month rolling lease on the existing one. The market is vital to Malton,” and, added Mr Foxton, there were no other alternative sites. “Eden Camp is ideal.”
Anne McIntosh, MP for Thirsk and Malton, has welcomed the plans.
She said: “I am committed to the livestock market because it is vital to the economy not only of Malton but to the whole of Ryedale. I am delighted to hear that the plans are due to be submitted to Ryedale District Council very soon.”
Support for the plans is however not unanimous, with councillors Paul Andrews and Ann Hopkinson both expressing reservations.
Coun Hopkinson said: “The A64 is a good location for the new market but flooding is the main concern. The County Council needs to be involved.”
Mr Vyvyan confirmed that he would report back to the council on technical information.
He said the plans are due to be handed to RDC this week and will be followed by a 16-week public consultation before they go before the council’s planning committee for initial consideration,with the final scheme being discussed in December. “Our hope is to start work on the site next spring.”