Malton: supermarket wars in Ryedale, North Yorkshire.

Malton Livestock Market

Malton Livestock Market - a beast has escaped and is running amok!

Malton is in the midst of a supermarket cold war and it’s hotting up! The two sides are squaring up for a fight and, in the blue corner we have the Fitzwilliam Estate Company, owners and controllers of much of Malton’s real estate, and, ironically, also in the blue corner (politically at least), we have Ryedale District Council, who have been given approval (some maintain, have given themselves approval) to develop a new supermarket on the site of the Wentworth Street car park. No big deal you might think? But wait, Fitzwilliam Estate Company also want to build a new supermarket (on the site of the existing livestock market) and they don’t like the idea of there being another one built on the car park site. They argue that building a new supermarket on the Wentworth Street site will irrevocably damage the trade of the local shops (most of which are owned and rented out by Fitzwilliam Estate Company), whilst building a new supermarket on the livestock market site (which will apparently be ‘high class’), will provide a much needed boost to the trade of the local shops. Fitzwilliam Estate Company is not happy and has sought a judicial review. This saga is set to run and run…

My personal opinion is this:

The people of Malton leave town in their droves to shop at Monks Cross in York and for three main reasons. Firstly, they have freedom of choice! Secondly, they have infinitely greater choice and, thanks to the competition between the major supermarkets, the cost of their weekly shop can be less (not necessarily so but people can chose where they spend their money). Thirdly, and very importantly, they can fill up their cars with cheap fuel at the same time. I think the opponents of a new supermarket in Malton (who bizarrely oppose the building of one of them, and not the other… which I find weird in the extreme), insult the ordinary, hardworking people of Malton and do them a huge disservice by seeking to deny them the ability to buy cheap fuel, cheap clothing and food for their families and, overall, would deny them the freedom to choose. Malton would do well to stop digging a moat around itself to protect its feudal landlord and his band of rusting armour-clad noblemen, and welcome in the world, the supermarkets selling cheap fuel and the extra thousands of people who will be attracted to the town by the new supermarkets. Personally, I think the idea that additional people will not wander into the town from the supermarkets and spend money in the town centre is utter cobblers. Malton town centre has some great shops and many successful long-established traders whose good businesses are not just founded on their being the ‘cheapest’ but more solid, lasting values of good quality, good service, good reputation and customer relationships and trust built over years. They will survive on their merits and because their customers like them and will support them.

A bigger issue and more critical of scrutiny by the people of Malton and Ryedale will be watching carefully where our elected members decide to spend the £5 million quid they will receive from the sale of Wentworth Street car park!

Last but not least, I would be leading you astray dear readers (and contributing to the smoke-screen that is pumped into the air by Selina Scott and her merry supporters) if I failed to mention, as so many newspaper articles do, that, if all sides get their way, there will be THREE NEW SUPERMARKETS. NOT TWO!!. Yes, THREE! Our good friends, Fitzwilliam Trust (in no way related to Fitzwilliam Estate) want to build a new supermarket a few hundred metres from the Wentworth Street car park site on the Old Showfield. Sainsbury’s perhaps.

…meanwhile, the beast was spotted roaming in Ryedale!

Alan Tomlinson visits Malton, North Yorkshire

Improvising trombonist Alan Tomlinson was featured on Today on Radio 4 and recently performed a duet with, and in, the River Seven in Rosedale (soon to be part of a new feature-length film documentary about British improvised music, narrated by Stewart Lee). Alan also performed for The Shed’s Fish and Chip Van Tour (as seen on the Richard and Judy Show).

Mick Paley shows his melons to Lynda Beast in Malton.

Mick Paley and Lynda Beast: eye to eye in Malton.

Derek Fox butcher Malton tempting Lynda Beast with sausages.
Malton butcher Derek Fox tempts Lynda Beast with a sausage.
The butcher and the beast. Derek Fox and Lynda Beast outside Fox’s butcher’s shop in Malton market place. Watch this space for news of a CD single release… Lynda Beast - wild and roaming was an improvised music event presented by The Shed, starring the cross-dressing violinist Dylan Bates (Lynda Beast) performing tunes and songs in Malton, Pickering, Kirkbymoorside and Helmsley.
“It was a joy!” Derek Fox, Malton butcher.

“Near the market town of Malton on the edge of the Yorkshire moors, The Shed is one of few venues in the country with a location as inspiring as its programme of live music and performance art.

Saturday Market, Malton and The Shambles, Malton. Photos © Simon Thackray

The old Saturday market and Shambles, Malton. Photos © Simon Thackray

The latter’s affinity with the surreal end of the creative spectrum is largely thanks to the boundless imagination of its creator, Simon Thackray, whose ideas are often too large to be limited to his makeshift stage: in 2004, for example, he had jazz saxophonist Lol Coxhill touring North Yorkshire market towns in a skip; one year earlier, improvising trombonist Alan Tomlinson did likewise in a fish and chip van, serenading customers as they queued for portions of battered cod.

Knitted Elvis Wig Pattern

The North Yorkshire Elvis Bus Tour

Other weird and wonderful outings have involved everything from knitted Elvis wigs to rowing down the river in over-sized Yorkshire puddings, although of course there’s plenty making more conventional use of the 100-capacity Shed’s candlelit interior – from the live comedy of Stewart Lee and the spoken word poetry of regular collaborator Ian McMillan to all manner of world, classical, jazz, blues and folk music.” Time Out: 1000 Things to do in Britain

The Shed Comes To Town

The Shed Comes To Town (Malton 2003). A two day festival of music presented by The Shed and the most successful open-air art event in Malton’s history. The music, weather and atmosphere were amazing!

Featuring the Snake Davis Band, Ian McMillan, Hank Wangford and the Lost Cowboys, the Annie Whitehead Band and Billy Jenkins with the Blues Collective. Sponsored by Sirdar Spinning Limited with additional support from Ryedale businesses, Arts Council England and Arts and Business, Yorkshire. (Described by North Yorkshire Police as the quietest Friday and Saturday nights on record!)


The Shed in Malton Market Place 2003

The Shed Comes To Town (and the town comes to life).


The Shed’s 20th Anniversary Season is here!

Antonio Carluccio stops off at the Pied Piper bucket collection in Malton.
Malton Food Lovers Festival 2012. Celebrity chef Antonio Carluccio with Simon Thackray from The Shed. Simon and team were collecting money for the Ryedale youth music charity Pied Piper. More about Pied Piper…


Lynda Beast outside the Talbot Hotel, Malton.

Lynda Beast playing the fiddle outside the Talbot Hotel, Malton.



Lynda Beast serenading Mick Paley in Malton © Kippa Matthews

Lynda Beast and Mick Paley (with melons). Photo © Kippa Matthews