Town council slams harbour chairman

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WHITBY TOWN Council has launched a scathing attack on the borough councillor and body responsible for looking after the town’s harbour.

At the last monthly meeting, a special motion was put forward requesting that Coun Mike Cockerill is more “resourceful and diplomatic” when dealing with issues relating to the town.

It was backed by the town council following a majority vote and the clerk is now set to write to Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) over the issue.

Whitby Harbour Board, chaired by Coun Cockerill, is a pilot body set up by the borough council to manage the town’s harbour and infrastructure.

But there has been a series of conflicts between the board and harbour committee set up by Whitby Town Council over meetings being held behind closed doors and a lack of communication.

Town councillor Ian Havelock, who chairs the harbour committee, put forward the motion.

He said: “I am focussing this on Coun Cockerill because he is the portfolio holder for the areas that I am going to mention and the chair of the harbour board. While he is an elected representative he is not elected by anybody in Whitby and district.”

Coun Havelock referred to Aelfleda Terrace situation and felt while Coun Cockerill and SBC were quick to gain publicity they could have given more time to residents to save their belongings, alluding to the suggestion the properties could have been saved.

It would also have been better if works could have been carried out without legal arguments over responsibility getting in the way.

A Freedom of Information Request had only just been answered following a long delay, relating to £68,000 being spent on a dredger pump later sold on e-bay for £12,921 because it wasn’t what was required for the job.

He also raised concerns the decision to raise harbour fees by 5% was taken when there were only three members of the harbour board present and a stand in member had to be “dragged in” to make the meeting quorate.

Coun Havelock told the meeting: “I believe there is something fundamentally wrong and we are not getting representation for the people of Whitby through Coun Cockerill.

“SBC were very quick to issue the Rector of St Mary’s with a notice, why aren’t they issuing themselves with a notice to something about that or the lighthouses or the town hall? They have not looked after the interests of Whitby residents and should be held to account.”

Coun Phil Trumper seconded Coun Havelock’s motion and added: “There seems to be an impression that issues raised by WTC aren’t taken seriously but these are serious issues we are raising.

“We need to ask Coun Cockerill to improve his communication with us and we can work with him to improve the town and harbour and everything that goes with it.”