Car park sale 'asset stripping' claim Malton protesters

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Campaigners in a North Yorkshire market town protesting about plans to sell-off a car park have accused the council of "asset stripping".

Ryedale District Council wants to use the land at Wentworth Street car park in Malton to provide a "high quality" food shop at the site.

The council said money raised from the sale would be used for other projects.

Protesters say there are already enough supermarkets and high charges deter motorists from using the car park.

A march is to be held on Thursday by campaigners called the Anti Car Park Sale Action Group.

Spokesman Denys Townsend, the chairman of Malton and Norton Business in Action said selling the car park was an "asset-stripping exercise" and not in the public interest.

In a statement Mr Townsend said: "The only reason Ryedale has given for selling Wentworth Street Car Park is that it is an asset which can realise money for capital projects.

"They will sacrifice Malton for a short term gain. This is an asset stripping exercise which is not in the public interest.

"There is no need for another supermarket. Malton and Norton already has one of the biggest Morrisons stores in the north of England.

"There are smaller outlets run by ASDA, Sainsbury's and Costcutters, a Lidl store is under construction and permission has recently been given for a new Aldi store in Norton."

But Julian Rudd, who is the head of economy and housing at Ryedale District Council said some car parking spaces would be retained and the development would benefit the town.

He said: "The council has decided to retain the upper deck of the car park and that means there will be a minimum of 150 long-stay spaces."

Mr Rudd said the council had built in several aspects to the assessment of bids, looking at schemes that would "favour the town centre and encourage people to using the parking at the site and visit other shops in the town".

A decision on the use of the site will be made by councillors on 17 November.

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