CONTROVERSIAL plans for the site of Driffield's former cattle market look set to be given the go-ahead after pleas for a public inquiry were rejected.
The decision not to call in the scheme was revealed in a letter from Government Office in Leeds to the East Riding of Yorkshire Council, which was released to the Driffield Times this week.
News of the ruling has been greeted with dismay by anti-supermarket campaigners.
But supporters of the scheme have welcomed the decision, arguing that the time has now come to move forward so that the site can make a positive contribution to the town again.
In the letter, Alastair McIntyre, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, wrote: “Having carefully considered the relevant planning issues raised by this proposal, together with all the representations received, the Secretary of State has concluded that her intervention would not be justified.
“The application does not, in the Secretary of State’s view, raise issues of more than local significance, which would require a decision by her.
“The decision as to whether to grant planning permission will therefore remain with the council.”
The decision means that a final decision on the plans for a new supermarket, shops, cafe, community hall and 44 homes will now be referred back to the ERYC.
Members of the authority’s planning committee voted by nine to six in June to defer and delegate the scheme for approval, subject to any call-in plus the completion of legal agreements and an archeaological survey.
Town councillors and local business people who opposed the scheme have spoken of their disappointment at the ruling.
Anti-supermarket campaigner Mark Blakeston told the Driffield Times: “I’m surprised that is the reason why the decision has been taken.
“I would have thought in this climate that the decision has got wider issues.”
He added: “There are judicial appeals that we can go through, but they’re going to take financing and whether there is any appetite to do that I don’t know.”
Speaking on behalf of the town council, clerk Claire Binnington said members were disappointed that the Government had chosen to ignore 100s of appeals for a full investigation from local residents.
She said: “The council want to see this area of the town developed and have always acknowledged the need for a bigger supermarket.
“However they wished to ensure that any new supermarket was placed in such a location to encourage links with the town centre and maximise economic share with other outlets and to minimise the impact on local residents.
“The town council is now committed to working hard with the residents and traders of the town to ensure that we can face the challenges this new development will bring together and that our town will remain a vibrant and attractive place in which to live, shop and work.”
But the ruling has been welcomed by the town’s ERYC ward members.
Coun Symon Fraser said he was ‘delighted’ at the decision and added: “ We now have a real chance of once again seeing this site become an important part of Driffield.”
Coun Barbara Hall said the onus was now on site developers to provide improved facilities for the town.
And Coun Felicity Temple said agreements on parking and traffic management issues now had to be drawn up.
She added: “I hope that all of the people involved in these conditions stick to their commitments and that we can at last see this derelict mess cleared up and brought back into use for Driffield.”