BROADCASTER Selina Scott has spoken out against a proposed supermarket development in Malton.
Writing in the Daily Mail, Scarborough-born Ms Scott claimed that it would wreck her idyllic market town if Ryedale District Council gives the go-ahead for a planned supermarket, the size of a football pitch, on the site of a car park.
She said: “Residents are unequivocal in their condemnation, certain it will destroy the fragile balance of local shops and community spirit that has been the hallmark of this special little town since the middle ages. Like many other market towns in Britain, locals are banding together to try to stop the developer, Leeds-based firm GMI Holbeck Land, obtaining planning permission.
“If it wins permission, the district council will pick up £5 million from the firm. It is the way supermarkets do business these days — only once planning permission has been obtained will the identity of the supermarket be revealed.”
She added that it was locals believed that Tesco was behind the scheme. “Building a store in the town would be quite a coup for the chain — if indeed that is who it is — as their nearest outlet is 14 miles away in the village of Strensall.
“While there is also a cluster of Tesco stores around the city of York, these are roughly 20 miles south-west of Malton, and the nearest store to the north is in the coastal town of Scarborough, 23 miles away.
“For the council to betray this generosity by selling the plot and giving planning permission would be seen as an act of treachery. It is not as though Malton, with a population of just 4,000, doesn’t have a supermarket. It has three. But if a 50,000 sq ft store gets the go-ahead then the hundred or so small shopkeepers who are struggling will be driven out.””
But a Ryedale council spokesman said the supermarket development could an bring much-needed visitors, and new investment and there was limited choice, especially for fashion.