A MARKET town is set to benefit from a business boost after being named as the first Food Enterprise Zone in Yorkshire.

Malton, in Ryedale, was nominated by Ryedale District Council and the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership, and it was announced this week that the bid was successful.

The Food Enterprise Zones (FEZ) are designed to support existing businesses to expand, as well as encouraging new businesses to start up in the area.

For Malton, this means a new agricultural food park will be created which could employ more than 500 people.

The plans also include relocating Malton’s livestock market to a purpose-built facility, which will be situated alongside local food and farming-based businesses, with additional space for businesses to develop their new ideas at the nearby National Agri-Food Innovation Campus.

Barry Dodd, CBE, chairman of the Enterprise Partnership Board, said: “This is a great step forward for the Malton area, the new site will provide employment opportunities in the agri-food industry.

“One of the LEP’s key priorities is to support our area to become a global leader in food, agri-tech and biorenewables.

“The Malton Food Enterprise Zone will have close links to our world-leading work at the Food and Environment Research Agency in Sand Hutton and York’s Biorenewables Centre.”

Defra has awarded the maximum grant of £50,000 towards the cost of creating a FEZ at the site.