News- Blueprint for town future is unveiled

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MALTON is set to get a major shot in the arm with the announcement that the site of the cattle market is to become a prime retail development.

Fitzwilliam Estates, which owns much of the land and property in Malton, has this week unveiled a blueprint for turning the traditional market into shopping and housing.

In a letter to local businesses, estate bosses say the land must be used in a way which 'reflects Malton's future needs' and they cite changes in agriculture and fewer farmers selling their livestock at the ancient livestock mart among reasons for the proposed development.

In a letter to local businesses, estate bosses say the land must be used in a way which 'reflects Malton's future needs' and they cite changes in agriculture and fewer farmers selling their livestock at the ancient livestock mart among reasons for the proposed development.

No date has been set but local auctioneers Cundalls, who run the market, will have to move when their lease expires in April next year.

Developers say the plans, which are still in the early stages, could see 35,000sq ft becoming retail space and the rest housing.

In a statement, estate manager Roddy Bushell said the detail of the development would depend on future consultation with local residents, businesses and town officials.

He said: "This development will be a significant boost to the fortunes of Malton and represents a major commitment to its future as a vibrant market town.

"We are particularly keen on preserving the architectural integrity of buildings within the control of the estate and maintaining the balance between the estate's own commercial interests and the long term needs of the town."

Estate bosses employed retail specialists, Roger Tym Associates, who, in a report, said that Malton has a 'healthy town centre'. But they noted that there is scope for expansion for businesses, especially in the fashion and clothing sector. And they want the town to attract shoppers who currently travel to retail parks in York.

In their report, Roger Tym Associates said that despite being the biggest town in the area Malton attracts less than 20 per cent of spending in the retail sector in Ryedale.

They say that for Malton to prosper it needs: More distinctive independent retailers Good quality food outlets selling local produce More fashion shops Space for more national clothes retailers More bookshops More department and catalogue stores The announcement comes after the Gazette & Herald launched a campaign to try to boost flagging trade in the town by revive Malton's historic past and literary links.

Businesses in the town have lamented shop closures, including Hoppers which has gone into administration, and have urged for action before Malton becomes a ghost town.

They blame high rents, Sunday closing, expensive parking and a lack of exploitation of the town's Roman heritage and association with Charles Dickens.

Some traders have grasped the nettle and Malcolm Chalk, owner of the World Wide Shopping Mall on Yorkersgate has headed a revamp of Chancery Lane next door to his business, which is home of the building reputed to have been the inspiration for Scrooge's office in A Christmas Carol.

Business leaders have since called for town councillors to pick up the gauntlet and promote Malton and Norton.

And now Norton residents and a councillor have said they are willing to set up a group to help both towns thrive.

In the letter, they said: "There are a lot of initiatives around events that are taking shape which is great for Malton, but there needs to be more than just one day events. We need to find a way of creating a thriving atmosphere that is apparent in all the other surrounding towns.

"The biggest lost opportunity is of course Scrooge's office on Chancery lane. The only mark of recognition for tourists is an out of print town trail number. Another big opportunity is usage of the beautiful riverside settings.

"The biggest shame is that everyone seems to be passing the buck regarding who should take responsibility for this.

"Perhaps it is time for an open group to be set up that is not accountable to existing groups or bodies and is willing to stick its neck out. If you are of a like mind and fed up of excuses then contact us and together we can tackle the barriers head on."

To get involved contact Coun Lindsay Burr on 01653 697210, Carl Wain on 01653 698140 or Stewart Frank on 01653 695779.


Author: Lynn Brown- Gazette & Herald
Date:14/06/2007