Controversial plans to build a supermarket and petrol station in at Malton have been blocked by one of the country’s top judges at London’s High Court in the latest twist in a long running legal battle which has been going on since 2011.
The picturesque town is known a foodie hot spot, and has been called “Yorkshire’s food capital.”
But locals are worried that a supermarket would damage the business of the many local independent shops.
In his ruling top planning judge Mr Justice Dove quashed the grant of planning permission Ryedale District Council gave to developers GMI Holbeck Land Limited in September last year.
He ruled that the planning committee, in giving the Wentworth Street Car Park scheme the green light, had been misled because they had not been told about the benefits of a rival plans to build a shopping development in the town’s old livestock market.
The omission was “a material and significant misrepresentation to members” of the planning committee, said the judge.
The local council’s decision to allow GMI Holbeck’s superstore proposals caused considerable local controversy based on fears it would damage local traders in the town.
Local celebrity resident Selina Scott last year gave her support the ‘no’ campaign.
The legal challenge was brought by local landowners Fitzwilliam (Malton) Estates.
It owns a large part of Malton town centre and are behind the plans for the development of the livestock market.
Cllr Linda Cowling, Leader of Ryedale District Council, said: “Ryedale District Council has a long-term vision to encourage economic growth and create jobs in the Ryedale area.
“The range of decisions by High Court judges in this case has been surprising varying from Mr Justice Gilbart of the Leeds High Court catergorising the judicial review claim of Fitzwilliam Malton Estate as being totally without merit to Mr Justice Dove reaching a view that the claim had merit.
“This is an indication of just how complex planning law relating to retail planning applications is.
“It should also be remembered that against the background of Mr Justice Gilbart of the Leeds High Court categorising the judicial review claim of Fitzwilliam Malton Estate as being totally without merit and leading Counsels advice that the District Council had a good case it was reasonable to defend the decision of the Planning Committee in this case.
“Ryedale District Council has a duty to defend its decisions if it believes they are reasonable having regard to the views of a High Court judge and barristers opinion.
“The planning officers’ recommendation was guided by the national advice and professional retail planning advice.
“A judicial review is different to a planning appeal. The judgement is not challenging the appropriateness of the development, but has considered the process of reaching the decision.
“The ruling nullifies the decision taken by the Planning Committee in April 2014 if there is no appeal. In the absence of an appeal this enables the application to be re-considered by councillors of the Planning Committee at a later date.”