Appetite for change
MALTON: Having reinvented itself as a foodie centre of Yorkshire, Chris Berry takes a stroll around Malton, where big changes are afoot.
NE or two years ago you might have been forgiven for thinking that Malton was that nice old market town just off the A64. Perhaps you didn’t really think any more about it other than seeing the sign for it because the lure of the coast may have been your reason for being on the road anyway.
Pickering, just nine miles north, has always attracted the tourist trade and day trippers because of its closer proximity to the North York Moors, its steam engines and fabulous railway line, and being on the way to Whitby.
So what does Malton have to entice people away from those kind of attractions? Or at very least what does it have to do to add to your list of places to visit for a day out, perhaps in addition to going to Pickering or the coast without being seen as purely another place for people to visit charity shops?
In the news over the past decade has been the long-running story of the historic town centre livestock market. At one time it was a battle with parties entrenched but for most that’s pretty much in the past now and it appears many are now looking forward to its imminent move to Old Malton, near to Eden Camp, which was approved last year with a view to a new agribusiness centre, including a new livestock market opening as soon as possible.
There are those in the town who see the proposed move as a loss to the town’s character and heritage but there are those in the alternate camp who believe it will allow the town’s retail proposition to expand and offer greater choice.
What cannot be denied though is the friendly atmosphere of the town particularly around its large market place with St Michael’s Church standing proudly in its centre and its little alleyway of independent shops called The Shambles that presently connects the market place area with the livestock market.
There are also a host of other shops, pubs, cafés and tearooms all around the square. Where those involved with the town have scored heavily in attracting day trippers to the town in recent years is quite possibly a little lesson in branding for others. They looked at one of their core strengths.
It is a market town first and foremost, somewhere where people like coming to look around stalls and buy food. The Saturday market had always been well attended. So they decided to go a little further.
The branding started a few years ago to get into our brains that Malton is about loving food with lots of Food Lovers signs, notably near the A64. Today there is a Malton Food Market every month and in May there will once again be the return of what is now regarded as one of the UK’s best food festivals when the Malton Food Lovers Festival takes place.
Of course it helps that TV chef James Martin has had such a connection with the Talbot Hotel and Restaurant in recent times. James has recently stepped down from his role as executive chef but The Talbot’s director and owner Tom NaylorLeyland has gone on record as saying his
GUEST APPEARANCE: Levi Roots will be at the Malton Food Lovers Festival.