Whitby - A tale of neglect and lack of investment
Is party politics necessary especially at the county/borough level? Every party seems to have some good ideas but can any one party be right all the time?
Since deciding not to go into Teesside, the Conservatives have run our councils for many years. I’m sure these Conservative councillors and their officers have done some good things but it is what they aren’t doing now that concerns me most.
We all live in one of the most beautiful areas in Britain but the neglect and lack of maintenance is there for all to see. If in any doubt please refer to Tom Broderick’s Gallery of Neglect - photographs can’t lie but tell a story - a story that none of us can be proud of and shows what we are leaving as a reminder of the governance of this area.
As an ex independent councillor on Scarborough Borough Council for four years up until May I am afraid to say I could make very little difference - independents were outvoted on key issues especially around the budget. However at that time we had 10 Conservative councillors in the northern area of the borough. We now have 11.
They could and should make a difference. Those in control must be held to account.
HOSPITAL - Mike Proctor, the new CE of the Hospital Trust, has now said what most people, including our doctors, have known for over 10 years our hospital, and this is certainly no reflection on the staff, is not fit for purpose.
Why was this not said by his predecessors and plans put in place for a new hospital?
Why? Because those who had the opportunity did nothing.
We are now in an area where on a daily basis there are well over 50,000 people whose lives depend on this hospital. We have only three ambulances covering Ryedale and the Coast and Moors. We are and are now expected to remain in a health desert for the next 5-10 years at least. We need action from our Conservative MP and our Conservative councillors. At the very least we have to ensure even closer links are established with James Cook and the transport infrastructure is in place to get us there. Even a few more ambulances would help.
CAMPER VANS continue to cause frustration. Why can’t our Conservative County Council and our Conservative County Councillors resolve the problem which has been with us for years and is getting worse. There was a plan for a park and ride scheme in Whitby. However when the cuts came Whitby lost out not only for the park and ride scheme but also for the additional measures that were to be introduced at that time. More parking spaces could have been found in the town. Parking meters could have been installed in certain areas.
Parking charges can be controversial but if there were reduced rates for residents I can see the benefits. North Promenade as a controlled parking area would mean no overnight camper van parking as well as no daytime parking as the vans could not fit into the bays. I have neither seen or heard any comment from our County Councillors on the subject.
What is their opinion and how are they going to get their party/council to act?
PIERS and their transparent neglect is appalling. Yes grants were obtained to replace the large hole in the east pier extension however another £18m plus is still needed to repair the base stone structures. We know the bridge to the east pier has been down for years - engineers have said that even if this was replaced much more would have to be spent to replace the upper level as the condition of the wooden columns make the extension unsafe. Now the west pier extension is out of bounds. Even if this is replaced how long before it is closed again because all the wooden columns supporting the upper level and their base iron supports would have to be replaced? The Lighthouses need work. The east pier lighthouse is closed. The west pier lighthouse should be closed. I was shown some photographs last week which mean I for one will never again lean against the rails at the top nor encourage my family to do so. They are potentially unsafe and dangerous - go and look for yourself. All these works could exceed £50m.
Even at a more basic level look at the seating on the west pier - rusting has already started on some recently replaced seats. Walk down the pier at night and admire the lighting or lack of it.
Perhaps a new tourist walk around town to go alongside Dracula and James Cook - THE RUST WALK.
MAINTENANCE or the lack of it in our town is there to be seen by all. Scarborough Borough Council have had no maintenance policy in place for years. A policy was drafted after three years of fighting earlier this year but without monies nothing will happen.
SBC push forward new projects (Scarborough Spa, open air theatre etc, etc) with local monies and grants especially in Scarborough but with no reserves being built up for maintaining the buildings and structures they have.
Visit Whitby Spa. What do you see - neglect? Even a better colour scheme and paint job might improve things.
Forgetting the piers and the harbour SBC have over £4m worth of back property maintenance issues to be addressed and maybe the same amount needed on seats, paths, railings etc. Less than £20k a year is being put aside to tackle the problem. This is laughable.
A new Scarborough Town Hall is being planned and maybe the monies needed can be obtained by selling off part of the current building though I doubt it. Here again more money will be spent on a new project rather than first addressing the chronic issue of maintenance which remains.
SBC are short of money but the monies they have should be better spent.
The current situation cannot continue.
When selling an asset monies must be put back into the infrastructure of the area on maintenance
PARKING FEES especially in Whitby are SBC’s cash cow with millions being taken out of the Town every year. More has to be made and that money reinvested in maintenance in Whitby.
Visitors could surely pay more. Currently they pay £7 a day why not £10. £10 to visit Whitby is a cheap day out. Why do coaches pay so little. Coaches in the centre of Whitby should pay say £30 - less than £1 a passenger and/or a coach park should be built on the outskirts of the town allowing their space in town to make more room for paying cars. These measures could raise an additional £1m a year. £1m which should be ploughed back into maintenance. So much more could so easily be achieved.
OUR COUNCILLORS need to be making their views known publicly. If they speak with one voice in the best interest of our town they can and should make a difference.
They will have to stand up and hold their own party, their cabinet, and their officers, our public servants, to account.
Apart from a few projects none of our councillors or officers can be proud in what they have achieved in Whitby.
If you think I am campaigning then yes I certainly am and so should we all.
Mike Ward, Whitby by email