Some of Whitby’s most iconic features are set to be protected following the extension of the town’s conservation zone.
The borough council’s Cabinet voted last Tuesday (February 11) to extend Whitby conservation area.
This means that for the first time since it was introduced in 1973, the zone will include both piers, the Abbey and the Spa Pavilion.
At over 93 hectares, or 230 acres, Whitby already has a large conservation area. However, it was felt that in order to preserve the ‘picture postcard’ appearance of the town, this zone would need to be extended further.
A major concern was the introduction of solar panels, which report author Derek Green said could “significantly harm the character, appearance and significance of the conservation area.”
Instead, the zone’s extension would preserve these “key” aspects. This includes the “amphitheatre” view from the New Bridge across the town.
Consultations held last year discovered the opinions of the public, town council and Whitby Civic Society in relation to the zones and it was recommended that the conservation boundary be extended to 120 hectares, or 297 acres.
Whitby Town Council’s Amanda Smith owns a business on Church Street and said that she believed the extended conservation area is a good thing for Whitby. She explained: “I think the roof scene of Whitby is an integral part of our heritage and it would be a shame if we lost that to solar panels.
“When we bought this building we knew we were only looking after it for future generations to enjoy.”
Central Whitby is divided into eleven different character areas, from the historic core of the East side to the Georgian development of St Hilda’s Terrace.
It was felt that the existing conservation zone did not give enough emphasis to Whitby yards and Baxtergate or the harbour, including the “iconic and distinctive” piers.
It was suggested various parts of the town which are included in the conservation zone should be removed, such as the hospital or police station, but after consultation it was decided these would remain.
Home improvements such as solar panels - important as homeowners attempt to reduce their bills - will now become subject to planning permission.