Staithes set to be de-listed as a bathing beach

Staithes
Staithes

Staithes’ polluted waters won’t get it de-designated as a bathing beach - but the that fact barely anybody takes a dip in them just might.

The borough council will be told to write to the Government so Staithes’ sands - dubbed Britain’s worst bathing beach - no longer have to carry the unflattering moniker.

It follows years of failed bids to bring the dirty water up to scratch, with £120,000 pumped into projects in the last two years alone in a bid to improve the picturesque fishing village’s problem.

There is concern that with the implementation of tougher water testing, repeated failures could mean the beach is automatically de-selected.

Signs would be put up warning of entering the sea, and there’s a fear this could have a negative impact on tourism.

But the village’s murky water woes wouldn’t be enough for the Department of Farming and Rural Affairs to de-select the beach, according to a 20 page report going before the council’s cabinet on Thursday December 18.

Instead, data collected by the authority will be used as the crux for the authority’s argument to take the beach off it’s nine-strong list of designated sites across the borough.

That information shows that approximately just one in 16 people who actually visit Staithes’ beach ever take the plunge in the water.

And less than one per cent of those who actually use the beach ever go for a swim - with the majority of those entering the water just having a “paddle”.

Those figures are considered “very low” by the council, and such will be used as the argument to de-select the beach.

Yet despite the poor public perception of Staithes’ water, opinion in the area is split over wether it should lose its status.

A council consultation found that almost three quarters of the public thought it should remain a bathing beach, with just over two-thirds not wanting the authority to apply to have it de-designated.

A total of 227 people responded, although the cabinet report states a “a large number” of those who completed the survey were members of the Surfers against Sewage pressure group.

And stakeholders were split, with Hinderwell Parish Council and North Yorkshire Moors National Park stating it should remain a bathing beach, while the surfing group and ward councillor John Armsby disagreeing.

Yet the cabinet will be told at the meeting on December 18 the negativity surrounding keeping the beach would be too great, and an application submitted to DEFRA.

If it is de-selected, the water will no longer be monitored by the Environment Agency, and instead Yorkshire Water will take over the jurisdiction.