ONE of the finest views in Whitby has been ruined because of works on the new bridge according to a tourism boss.
Over the last week large sheets of metal, about four feet high, have been fixed to the railings blocking the view over the harbour, lighthouses and town centre which greets tourists as they arrive at and leave Whitby.
Harry Collett, chairman of the Whitby and District Tourism Association (WDTA) said the view is famous among tourists and fans of the town.
He said: “One of the finest views in Whitby, down the valley, has just been blocked out. The question my members are asking is why has it been done like this?
“On behalf of WDTA we are very, very upset over the blocking off of this view. If it is affecting the view it is affecting tourism. You are going to have to be on the top deck of the tour bus to see over the top.”
Local artist and town councillor John Freeman said the metal was a graffiti canvas waiting to happen.
He said: “It is one of the views of the town, you get photgraphers there all the time taking that shot.
“The metal panelling is not going to stop anybody throwing anything because they can easily throw over the top of it, so from that point of view it is totally pointless.
“It is going to be an area that is ripe for graffiti. I am really upset about it, it is typical of people from outside Whitby just banging through a solution that ticks their boxes.
“We have a visual eyesore that does not solve the problem.”
The railings are being upgraded in a £115,000 scheme to comply with modern safety standards which differ from when the bridge was originally opened in 1980.
Mr Collett also believes the steel sheets are a hazard to motorists because the glare of the sunlight will result in drivers being “flashed like an Olympic torch”.
Nick West, North Yorkshire County Council highways and transportation manager admitted the view was affected but added that due to safety legislation the authority’s hands were tied.
He added: “Where you cross the railway line you have got to have a 100 per cent cover with the sheeting - it is around things being dropped onto the line.
“You will see it is only over a short length of the overall structure. It will detract from the view of that level.
“It would have been most unfortunate if the whole bridge was obscured. Our hands are tied so far as what we can and can’t do over railways.”
Work is expected to last around another five weeks and won’t be taking place over the Easter holidays.