A great asset
From the point of view of people visiting Malton, Wentworth Street car park is a
tremendous asset to the town – and would be even more so if it were free at all times.
There is always somewhere to park in Malton, and the slightly inconvenient
position at the edge of town would be more acceptable if the exhorbitant charges were
The last thing Malton needs is for this parking space to be lost, for ever. Allowing
the car park to be replaced by a large supermarket would be the final nail in the coffin
for the many small businesses still clinging to a living. The twin towns of Malton and
Norton are not without their supermarkets.
R G Thornton, Kirkbymoorside
My work brings me to into Malton on a regular basis. I enjoy the wonderful atmosphere
that is real and uncontrived. Malton is a genuine working market town that offers a
splendid selection of independent retailers and services.
Another supermarket is the last thing Malton needs. To allow this to happen will
indeed be the death knell of many of the shops.
The council says that it is thinking of the future and will put the money raised to
“promote major projects in our market towns which otherwise go unfunded”. This
statement poses the question of what are these “projects” and how will they benefit
Do the planners/councillors want Malton to become a ghost town of empty
premises and boarded-up properties that will attract nothing but lack of enterprise,
further degeneration and loss of revenue from business rate taxes?
The fact that the car park is underused is due to the high parking charges. The
town is working hard to raise its profile by organising events and revitalising its historical
heritage. To attract more visitors, long-stay parking must be available and at a
reasonable price. Adequate parking is essential for local farmers, shop and office
workers and others who conduct business calls.
If Malton is to survive, commonsense must prevail. Councillors are elected to
represent the townsfolk and should listen to their opinions. I do not want to spend my
money in another large supermarket that will put very little into the local economy apart
from a few jobs.
A plea to councillors would be don‟t sell off the town‟s assets in a reactionary way
to public spending cuts. Think of alternative ways to raise cash, and to preserve
Susan Earl, Easingwold
SHAME on Ryedale District Council. It is selling its soul to the evil of „progress at any
price‟ and selling us down the river.
It is the people of Malton and Norton who own Wentworth Street car park, not the
Not only does it fail to ask us if we want to sell the car park and have another
supermarket, it goes behind our back and invites tenders for the land. Apparently, it has
already paid out compensation to users of the offices in the car park, presumably
because the council expects these users to lose the use of their workspace.
At a recent meeting of businessmen and women of the towns, feelings about all
this ran pretty high. How can a small private trader compete with a supermarket giant?
It seems there is no restriction on what goods a supermarket may sell and,
because they can buy stock in such vast quantities, they can afford to charge much less
for an item.
The threat to our small traders is very real indeed and, if we want our towns to
survive as the beautiful little market centres that they are and not become ghost towns,
we really need to say so now and pray that the council will listen.
Beryl Cosens, Amotherby
The cattle ring at Malton market was filled on Monday night with about 60 people
representing farmers and the wider community, all of whom had strong feelings about
the future of the market and the potential impact of the district council‟s proposal to sell
off Wentworth Street car park as a super market.
The council‟s decision to force a vote on Thursday 29 July, was regarded as
unacceptable by the meeting and the following resolution was passed unanimously:
“This meeting believes the decision proposed on July 39 regarding the development of
Wentworth Street car park for a supermarket should be postponed to be considered
alongside other sites within the Local Development Framework and, in any event, until
the council elections in May 2011 to allow the Ryedale electorate to express its views.”
Gazette Farming Column 27/07/2010
We have an excellent car park, the envy of many similar sized towns, and
commonsense tells us to hang onto it. It is claimed that it isn‟t 100 per cent used – so
be it. That allows us to expand as our town develops. Once disposed of, where will we
Malton does not need another supermarket, does it? Malton‟s traders cannot
survive if this were to happen. Already the town centre is moving down Castlegate and
while the sales outlet there is an excellent one, we must keep our own town centre
where it belongs. Malton must remain a market town in its own right, and not become
just an accessory to several national outlets, whose weekly millions have little direct
benefit to our own heritage.
I read, from Ryedale District Council‟s chief executive, who, it appears, has taken
sides on this matter, that funds from the sale of the car park could be invested in
Ryedale projects. This car park is part and parcel of Malton, it belongs to us, and there
should be no case whatsoever of it being sold and the money going elsewhere. As an
asset of this town, giving our money away to other causes is an underhand move. We
have no liability to fund projects in other towns as Independent group leader Coun
Robert Wainwright suggests.
As for the other two jugglers in this charade it is difficult to figure out how they are
to benefit if their misguided views were to bear fruit. Certainly councillors Howard Keal
and Keith Knaggs, an unlikely couple, have received a considerable amount of publicity,
but as far as both are concerned, none of it will do either them, nor the parties they
represent, one iota of good.
Perhaps we might take a commonsense path, and leave things as they are rather
than follow some harebrained thinking which has neither sense nor reason.
“Town Talk” with Des Reed
If the Fitzwilliam Estate-sponsored (and hugely successful) food festivals of recent
years are to continue, or if more festivals are to be generated, where will the many
people who come from outside Malton park when the Market Place itself is fully
occupied by stalls?
Malton is different – it will hold its own against other places by celebrating and
preserving its difference, its distinctiveness, not by trying to be like everywhere else,
blandly consumerist; blandly generic.
The sale of the car park is folly of the highest order, motivated by neither an
understanding nor particular concern for the distinctiveness, historic importance,
potential or interests of Malton and Norton or of the villages for which they are the
economic and cultural hub.
Wentworth Street car park should be retained and it should be free of charge.
This would truly serve the best interests of the town.
Nigel Copsey, Malton
Threat to Bureau
The decision to sell Wentworth Street car park for yet another supermarket will mean
the closure and demolition of the Community House. Not only will this result in the loss
of a well-used meeting place in the town, but it will also mean that there will no longer
be premises for the Citizens Advice Bureau, Ryedale Voluntary Action and the
As chair of the Trustees Board of the CAB, I am particularly concerned that we
will find it very difficult to relocate and find accommodation in either Malton or Norton.
Our services have always been well used and, in the current economic climate, there is
now a greater need than ever for CAB in the area. It would be a great loss to the
community if this central building were to go.
Council, please think again.
Judy Conn, Chair of the Trustees Board, Ryedale CAB
Car park sale at odds with public
THE population of Malton is stunned with disbelief that Ryedale District Council is likely
to sell the Wentworth Street car park for development to another supermarket, subject
to the necessary planning permissions.
Has the council any plans for an alternative car park in Malton that might be
remotely convenient to visitors to the town?
D Clarke, Yedingham
WHATEVER opinions may be held on the vote to sell Wentworth Street car park – the
claim by Ryedale Council‟s ruling party that the prime motivation for the sale is an
urgent cash need now looks less than valid.
Apparently, the council now sits on a well-above average pile of council
taxpayers‟ cash - £10 million, to be exact.
Prudence is all very well, particularly when we are continually warned the road
ahead will provide a rough ride for many.
£8 million to refurbish The Milton Rooms during a Government austerity drive is
E Raine, East Heslerton
Do we need another supermarket? One supermarket, or even two, is reasonable, but it
seems we have five in the pipeline, all except one to be based within a few hundred
yards of what is already a busy and dangerous railway level crossing.
We are a moderate-sized, pleasant market town, and our councillors have been
advised that there just is not enough trade to support another supermarket.
Most of them sell the same type of produce, albeit under a different label. To
maintain trade, prices will be squeezed until there is no profit left, when the quality will
be reduced to cut costs and producers will be priced out of business, followed
eventually by the supermarket itself. We have paid for the advice. Please listen to it.
It has been said that more supermarkets will draw more trade into the town. As
we have already seen here in Malton, small shops which gave excellent service will
Most small shops will give you advice about the produce they are selling. Just try
to get advice from a supermarket and you will be greeted with a blank stare.
Rather than sell our town‟s silver, our council would be far wiser following David
Wright‟s suggestion by approaching someone like Bettys to take a stake in the town
Finally, I hope that our voters will note the names of those council members
voting in favour of the sale of Wentworth car park as so well quoted in your paper and
remember their actions in the elections next May. It is our town, a town full of interest,
variety and history, and we do have a right to have our say.
Remember, once you have a supermarket you are stuck with it, even if it has
become an uneconomic and abandoned shell.
J R Holt, Malton
REGARDING the decisions being made by Ryedale Council concerning the sale and
development of the Wentworth Street car park in Malton. Just a couple of points each
reader may wish to consider:
A councillor is an elected representative of the local community, chosen by the
community to serve the community. They are even elected under rules that carry the
name of Representation of the People Act.
Have you ever met anybody who wants to see Wentworth Street car park sold or
who wants to see another supermarket in Malton?
Shouldn‟t there be some connection between these two points or am I missing
Philip Hoyle, Norton
CAN anyone explain whey there has been such reluctance in Ryedale District Council
to explain its policies regarding the sale of Malton‟s main car park? The decision to sell
was made with great haste and a lack of communication.
What is the council afraid of? In last week‟s Gazette & Herald, we read that
Helmsley is short of car parking spaces and its councillors are to ask Ryedale Council
for money to enlarge the existing car parks.
Does this mean that monies raised from the sale of Malton‟s car park will be used
to pay for a larger car park in Helmsley? Does it mean that the receipts from the sale
will be spread throughout Ryedale?
John Sturdy, Malton
It is true, of course, that Ryedale District Council held well-attended consultation events
– but at none of these was the sale of Wentworth Street car park to a major
supermarket proposed. What was presented was evidence that the arrival of a smaller
scale, higher-end supermarket located immediately adjacent to the town centre might
enhance the retail sector of the town centre as a whole.
The example given was Beverley, where a small Marks & Spencer right in the
heart of the town had seemed to achieve this result. This model describes the
Fitzwilliam Estate proposal to redevelop the cattle market – it does not describe the
council‟s own proposal to sell the Wentworth Street car park to a major, highest-bidding
The district council is looking to sell a prime site at the lowest ebb of the property
market and to incur deductions from the proceeds of this sale to facilitate road
improvements and (perhaps) free parking over and above that necessary for the
customers off the supermarket in order to sweeten the deal.
They are doing this before the Local Development Plan is complete – which is to
say, without examination of the wider impact of the sale – and in direct contradiction of
the advice of consultants whose views on the matter they commissioned.
Nigel Copsey, Malton
Shame on you
THE council‟s decision to sell Wentworth Street car park in order to facilitate “more retail
opportunities for Malton” is an utter insult to the existing retailers, townsfolk and people
of the surrounding local villages.
Supermarkets, by sheer definition, control the market by forcing the competition
into a corner until it simply cannot compete anymore.
The spineless actions of the council are going to destroy everything that makes
this town unique, and once this car park is sold we will see the heart and soul of our
town die. I‟m only 22 years old, and in that short space of time I have seen many
businesses both flourish and fail in this town. I fear that for many we will be seeing a lot
more of the latter if we do not stand up and make our voices heard.
The council should be ashamed.
Eric Bowie, Malton
Members of the Soroptomist International of Malton and District are calling on Ryedale
District council to reconsider the decision to sell the car park and Community House.
The group of professional and business women, meets on a weekly basis at the
venue. Secretary, Christine Heap said Community House was used on a regular basis
by several groups in the area. She said “Community House is ideal as it has bright,
clean rooms and lots of parking.”
“The Citizens Advice Bureau, which is based there, requires rooms that are
easily accessible to clients and that provide an appropriate environment for personal
and often sensitive matters to be discussed privately and confidentially. Where else in
Malton can provide such facilities?”
Gazette article 29/09/2010
WITH reference to Coun Paul Andrew‟s excellent letter which appear in last week‟s
It should be put firmly on the public record that, while Coun Knaggs and his chief
executive have claimed that their “priorities are based on the things which the public
have told us are important to them”, the reality is to be found in the mass of letters in
your paper over the summer and still continuing, which strongly oppose Coun Knaggs‟
plans for the disposal of the Wentworth Street car park.
Roland Carter, Helmsley
My view is that the car park is indeed not the property of the either Malton Town Council
nor Ryedale District Council staff or councillors, in particular those councillors who
represent Malton and Norton. It is our car park, that is, everyone who lives out in the
country and has to travel to the town to obtain goods and services. It must not be sold.
I would go so far as to say it would be misappropriation of authority for Ryedale District
Council to continue with the sale.
Lorries are going to have to continue using Butcher Corner for access to both
Malton and Norton from York, Thirsk/Helmsley and Scarborough unless access to the
A64 is created at York Road and probably more importantly, Broughton Road.
The roads infrastructure in that area is totally unsuitable. It is, in a modern term,
a „no brainer‟. It may work with direct access to the A64 at Broughton Road, but
E L Thompson, Crambe
The next three letters are in response to an article by Keith Knaggs, leader of
RDC, published in the Gazette, 6.10.2010
I am prompted to write to make comment following the article in last week‟s Gazette
titled „Thinking Ahead must inform key decisions‟
While I agree with the title of the article, I am concerned by the content. The expression
„Spend, Spend, Spend‟ comes to mind. This phrase is usually associated with Lottery
etc windfalls. It is irresponsible with public money.
While on the subject of phases another comes to mind; „Lies. Damn lies and statistics‟.
This is, in my view, an art perfected in Ryedale District Council. In modern parlance this
is called ‟Spin‟.
I need to justify my comments. The list of spending listed by Council Leader, Cllr, K
Knaggs, is a wish list. Some are very important others less so. In hard times you cut
back not go on a spending spree. With elections next year the Council tax is likely to be
frozen for a second year, so no extra cash there! In 2009-10 Ryedale District Council
lost £1.9M on its revenue account. More losses this year and next year then. If
revenue losses continue at this rate there will be no money left for the wish list.
It worries me that Cllr Knaggs appears to be making misleading statements. Things like
Milton Rooms and Malton town hall repairs are revenue by nature and should be paid
out of council tax and other council revenues not Capital Reserves. The same goes for
replacement of refuse collection vehicles. Perhaps enough has not been put by each for
these replacements. Also misleading, it appears to me, is to include the Brambling
Fields Road improvements against reserves. Yes they are part of the spend but are, as
quoted in the article and according to committee reports quoted on pages 6- re Aldi and
14- re Westfield Nursery of the same paper, loans to be recovered by the council out of
contributions by developers on planning gains.
Let‟s be honest. He needs the money from the car park because there will be no
reserves left soon. No needed infrastructure improvements; No car parking facilities;
Supermarkets destroying the fabric of our towns. Yes a big supermarket will take
shoppers from the other Ryedale towns make no mistake. Watch out Pickering,
Kirbymoorside and Helmsley
Denys Townsend, Malton, Gazette 13.10.2010
Keith Knaggs‟ article in last week‟s Gazette had an extremely divisive flavour – fostering
envy of Malton & Norton by those who live in wider Ryedale. Unlike many people who
regularly visit the towns, he has said in the past that he does not shop here because
„Malton‟s shops aren‟t good enough‟. At least he will never have a problem with finding
long stay parking at Ryedale House.
Above his article there was a photograph of Wentworth Street car park. This was
particularly striking because in the whole of the writing there was not one mention of his
plans to provide parking for Malton if he gets his way to sell Wentworth Street car park
for development. If this goes ahead, and a superstore is built on the site, parking will be
included, but it will not be long-stay. Where, in future, will those people park who come
in to work from elsewhere? Where will the visitors park who we desperately need to
encourage? At present we are lucky enough to have „Park and Walk‟, where most towns
have had to arrange Park and Ride. Many of our visitors have said that they choose
Malton rather than York because they value the independence of this parking as well as
the small shop possibilities on offer here.
Keith Knaggs‟ article, apparently written „in a personal capacity‟, mentions the sale of
assets to pay for his wish list, with „one big candidate – Wentworth Street car park. The
council has to consider the risks and opportunities involved in selling – and in not
selling.‟ At the Council meeting on 29th July, it was all too clear that he had already
done this. All other members of the Conservative majority followed his example in voting
in favour of the sale, with the single exception of Edward Legard, whose words were:
„We were not elected on this ticket‟. He clearly understood that his responsibility as a
councillor was to serve the people of Ryedale rather than to ride roughshod over their
expressed wishes. The opposition to the sale of Wentworth Street car park is not „a
vociferous minority‟ (as expressed by Ryedale‟s Chief Executive) but is the
representative opinion of Malton & Norton town councils, virtually unanimous throughout
all the businesses and shops, and it is also the opinion of plenty of people who live in
Ryedale, even as far away as Farndale.
When are you going to start to listen, Ryedale District Council, to those who elect you?
Emma Brooksbank, Menethorpe, Gazette 13.10.2010
Referring to the article in last week‟s Gazette from Keith Knaggs, regrettably we are
now seeing the results of his incompetent, arrogant and divisive leadership.
As leader of the Conservative Group, he held up the building of the joint use school dry
sports centre for over ten years. Ten years ago, Malton School accepted a Ryedale
officer proposal to include a new swimming pool in their proposal. An 80% grant would
have been available from Sport England and a Feasibility Study was commissioned to
be used in support of a bid for funding. Councillor Knaggs vigorously opposed the
entire project – it was an opportunistic election issue, designed only to benefit his own
He is now using the possible need to replace the Derwent Pool in five or more years
time as an excuse to sell Wentworth Street Car Park to a superstore operator.
Since 1996, Keith Knaggs has been by far the most influential member of the Council.
The Council was debt free and had extensive reserves. Yet for over ten years, the
Council sat on its reserves and spent very little on capital projects.
The reserves came from the sale of Council houses – most of them in Malton/Norton or
the part of York which used to be in Ryedale. The Ryedale part of York got its water
theme park, and Pickering had had a dry sports centre built at Lady Lumley‟s school.
By comparison, Malton/Norton received little benefit out of the sale of their housing
assets, and important public facilities such as the Milton Rooms and the Malton
museum were allowed to deteriorate.
The Council could have dealt with all of these issues and many more at a time when
money and “matching” grant aid was abundant, but Councillor Knaggs chose to let the
council sit on its reserves and do very little with them. Now that funding from Yorkshire
Forward and others has dried up, he looks to a supermarket operator to provide the
money instead. He seeks to divide our Ryedale community and escape the blame for all
of this, by supporting those who he alleges say: “Enough of Malton: what about us?”
and by branding anybody who disagrees with him as “a small vociferous minority”.
A prescription is no good if the side-effects are going to do more harm than the disease.
We all want an extra slip-road for Brambling Fields, but not at the expense of making
traffic worse in Malton and Norton town centres. Taking additional developer
contributions from more new developments will not help either Malton/Norton or the
wider community which use these centres, unless something radical is done to facilitate
access between the A64 and Broughton Road.
As Councillor Knaggs is an accountant, we should not be surprised if planning has
become finance-led at Ryedale. The rule book has been torn up and thrown away.
Norton and Malton are about to be inundated with new developments which are outside
defined development and commercial limits without waiting for the completion of the
Local Development Framework, as is the proper procedure. This is all being done in a
rush to get developer contributions – even though the market is unlikely to make a start
on building works worthwhile for quite some time.
The draft Ryedale Plan, which is now being consulted upon, supports this approach. It
is therefore very important that as many readers as possible, when commenting on the
plan, make it very clear that they don‟t want any more supermarkets, and that no more
than 1,000 new houses should be built in Malton/Norton over the next 15 years.
Paul Andrews, Great Habton, Gazette 13.10.2010
EDWARD FOX, the veteran actor, has helped block a supermarket development with a
fervent speech warning against “endless advancing commercialism” that threatened the
character of Wareham, an ancient market town.
“Wareham is historically a genuinely ancient town and its existence stretches far
back into very early times. It has retained a rustic distinctiveness and its own singular
charm and character right up to the present day, in spite of all the hungry predations
upon its style and character by endlessly advancing commercialism.
The proposed store would swiftly kill stone dead the small, sensible, purposeful,
first-class small enterprises which have in all my acquaintance thrived within the town.
Visitors to Wareham often come to the town to escape the „supermarket culture‟. They
want to discover a way of life within a town which is quieter, calmer, less frenetic, less
rushed and most particularly much more friendly and personal.”
Councillors rejected the supermarket plan by 16 votes to three, but agreed the
land should have houses built on it, as that would end any ambitions to build a store.
Richard Savill, article in Daily Telegraph 08/10/2010
A ruse that‟s nothing short of an insultation
„Nonsultations‟ inviting us to have a say on big decisions are a fraud.
All major decisions, and many minor ones – including planning applications – must now,
by law, be consulted on. A vast industry has grown up to do it. The purpose of
“nonsultation”, however, is almost never to act on the public‟s views. It is to manage,
manipulate, or suppress them.
Imagine that you are a developer wanting to knock down a much–loved heritage
structure in your town – a covered market, say – to replace it with a modern shopping
centre and 100-bed hotel. You convene a „key stakeholders consultation group
consisting largely of people who support the plan, and keep everyone else off it.
You allow these „key stakeholders‟ to make some cosmetic changes, so they feel
flattered and involved. But responses such as “leave the market alone” or “go away and
stop messing up our town” are not allowed.
You hold a public exhibition of your proposals more than a year before you apply
for planning permission, and display a scheme substantially different from the one you
eventually propose. You exhibition is only open to the public for a total of 14 hours
across two days. At this exhibition, you hand out questionnaires that claim, falsely, that
the market is run-down.
You then claim „widespread public backing‟ on the basis of these questionnaires,
though only 333 people filled them out and of those only 79 – about 0.01 per cent of the
local population – gave their full support.
This has all happened, exactly as I have described it, in the battle being waged
by a developer to knock down a local market in the heart of Greenwich World Heritage
site, and no doubt in a thousand other schemes across the country.
From an article by Andrew Gilligan in the Daily Telegraph