Whitby - A tale of neglect and lack of investment
Are 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.
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 is of concern.
We live in one of the most beautiful areas in Britain but the neglect and lack of maintenance is there for all to see. None of us can be proud of what we are leaving as a reminder of the governance of this area.
As an ex Independent Councillor on SBC I am afraid to say I could make very little difference - Independents were out voted on many key issues.
In the Northern Area of the borough we have 11 Conservative councillors on SBC and 3 on NYCC.
They could and should be making a difference. Those in control must be held to account.
Why is SBC spending many thousands on employing consultants to look at cost efficiency savings and then rejecting at least one of their proposals for the outsourcing of some services - an excellent idea which was even suggested before the consultants were employed. After a management restructure three years ago SBC is still too top heavy.
HOSPITAL - Mike Proctor, the new CE of the Hospital Trust, has now said what most people, including our doctors, have known 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 or a radical revamp of what is there?
Why? Because those who had the opportunity did nothing.
Are we expected to remain in a health desert for the next 5-10 years ? That is what is now being suggested.
We need action from our Conservative MP, our Conservative Councillors and the Health Care Trusts. 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.
We have only three ambulances covering Ryedale and the Coast and Moors. We need more with instructions to take patients to Middlesbrough. Why at present are they directed to Scarborough which in future will mean possible onward transfer to York?
CAMPER VANS continue to cause frustration. Why can’t the County Council 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 on this but also for the additional measures that were to be introduced at that time.
Parking charges can be controversial but if there were reduced rates for residents there are benefits. North Promenade as a controlled parking area with parking meters would mean no overnight camper van parking as well as no daytime parking as the vans would not fit into the bays. I haven’t 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 ?
THE PIERS and their problems is of grave concern. Yes grants were obtained to replace the large hole in the East Pier extension however another £18m+ 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. A temporary bridge for the West Pier extension is to be installed shortly but why has it taken so long to arrange, causing hardship to local traders? The Lighthouses need work. The East Pier Lighthouse is closed. The West Pier Lighthouse should really be closed on health and safety grounds.
All these necessary works could exceed £50m.
Even at a more basic level look at the seating on the West Pier - is it fit for purpose?
MAINTENANCE or the lack of it in our Town is there to be seen by all. SBC 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 Theatre. What do you see - neglect ? Even a better internal colour scheme 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. Why? Maybe the monies needed can be obtained by selling off part of the current building. Once again more money for a new project rather than first addressing the chronic issue of maintenance.
SBC are short of money but the monies they have should be better spent.
When selling an asset monies obtained must be put back into maintenance.
SBC have set up a Harbour Board but without anywhere near the budget to make a difference.
Maybe there is an opportunity for a new tourist walk around Town to go alongside Dracula and James Cook -THE NEGLECT WALK.
PARKING FEES especially in Whitby are SBC’s cash cow with millions being taken out of the Town every year. More of that money should be reinvested in maintenance in Whitby but could even more be made ?
Raising daily parking charges for tourists from £7 to £10 would still make Whitby a cheap day out.
Why do coaches only pay a nominal charge ? In the centre of Whitby shouldn’t they pay £20+ which is less than £1 a passenger. Could a coach park be built on the outskirts of the town allowing their space in town to make more room for paying cars.
These measures could raise well over £1m a year. £1m which should be ploughed back into maintenance.
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.
Many people give a lot of their time and effort to our town but residents have to be listened to - the current situation cannot be allowed to continue.
If you think I am campaigning then yes I certainly am and so should we all.
Councillor Mike Ward by email