Legal bid to save tourism centre

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A group of Whitby residents have launched a legal fight to try to stop the closure of the town’s Tourist Information Centre.

The proposal first went public with an article in the Gazette in December but a timeline of events reveals that it had been discussed in the six months prior without public knowledge.

Campaigners say that:

l Half a million visitors use the TIC every year

lWhitby has been voted the fifth most popular UK destination for 2016 in a recent poll

lTourism is the town’s major source of income

lOver 3 million visitors are estimated to bring £158 million a year into the local economy and support an estimated 2,700 tourism-related jobs in the town.

However, the borough council says the centres are no longer needed and visitors access information via the internet nowadays instead.

It is a move that has been branded “the final straw”.

The group is also unhappy about council proposals to build and rent out nine kiosks on Pier Road.

They are on harbour land, but will be retail outlets unrelated to harbour activities.

It is felt harbour land should be retained for its intended purposes with trawlermen already saying that they cannot get into the harbour at present because of inadequate dredging and the lack of facilities.

There is upset that the piers have been left to deteriorate and the substantial sums of money generated from car parks in Whitby is being put back into the general coffers of the council.

The argument is that this income should have been ring-fenced and ploughed back 
into improving and maintaining both the harbour facilities and the two historic piers.

John Freeman, a former Mayor of Whitby and the Chair of the Whitby District Tourism Association, said: “For many Whitby folk the proposed closure of the TIC is the final straw.

“The people of Whitby are unhappy about the neglect inflicted on the harbour, a valuable and crucial asset of the town.”

The legal challenge will be based around stopping the TIC closure and making sure income from harbour land is ring-fenced.

A fund has been set up to support the campaign and legal fight and the group is inviting donations from lovers of Whitby worldwide to help support the campaign

Contact Sandra Smith on 01947 820025, 07931 366584 or email Fight4Whitby@gmail.com