Keep it local and listen to views of local people
John Clark writes…
First published: December 2007 – Gazette & Herald
Why do tourists visit Ryedale? Why do people want to live in Ryedale? Why do people want to retire to Ryedale? We all have different answers but there are common themes – the countryside, the views, peace and quiet and many others. In which case, why are we allowing the destruction of Ryedale?
At present, the A64 is a very busy and often congested road. People travelling along towards Scarborough see countryside and the moors to the north. 20 years ago as you turned off along the A169 towards the beautiful market town of Pickering, you saw open countryside from end to end. One exception was roses grown in fields. What better for the approach to Pickering? This road is now becoming industrialised. What looks like airport landing lights is, I’m told, a conference centre. This was a departure from the Local Plan.
The latest departure is at the Malton end of the A169. Not next to the A64 but north of Riggs road. This development will consist of office blocks, industrial and 10% warehouses. So as to sell the idea, it is called a Technology/Business Park and an Innovation Centre linked to the Science City of York and the York Economy.
This development is only phase 1. We are not told what phases 2, 3, and 4 involve. Phase 2 is to be between the A64 and phase 1. It is rumoured that phase 2 will be motorway service station type facilities; supermarket; café; restaurant and hotel rooms. Planning permission would probably not be granted on its own. However, between a busy dual carriageway and an industrial estate (phase 1), it would be likely.
The justification for this destruction of our countryside is a document called the Employment Land Review. Not a document approved by a planning inspector; not part of the Ryedale Local Plan, but a document created by consultants for Ryedale District Council (RDC). People in Ryedale are not even aware of its existence.
Earlier this year, RDC and other District councils argued against the North Yorkshire ‘take over’. They used the slogan ‘Keep it Local’. What has RDC achieved with this case?: no consultation on the local Employment Land Review; no consultation of where to put the local Technology/Business Park; no consultation on the loss of local countryside; no consultation on the increased local traffic; views of the local council (Malton Town Council) were ignored. Not a very good start to ‘keeping it local’.
As the approval of this application is a departure from the Local Plan, it has to be referred to the Secretary of State whose options are either to agree to the development or to ‘call it in’. A planning inspector would then examine the proposals. There could be an enquiry in Ryedale with public contribution. A group of councillors and some objectors have already written to the Secretary of State asking for this route to be followed. Ryedale people are entitled to say what we want in Ryedale. Yes to a Technology Park. No to this site.