Skipper slates parking fees charges

The chair of the Whitby Harbour Consultative Group has hit out at plans to charge harbour users to leave their vehicles in nearby car parks.

The Gazette reported on 25 November that parking charges were set to be introduced at Endeavour Wharf and the Marina car park, but John Whitton, who is also skipper of the Never Can Tell A, has hit out at a “tax on employment”, where fishermen are victimised.

At last week’s Scarborough Borough Council cabinet meeting, a report recommended the introduction of charges for parking.

Mr Whitton, who chairs the harbour consultative group, said: “We’re trying to earn a living but absolutely everything and anything you can think of is listed in the charges, and now they want to charge us for the car parking as well.

“I’m looking at something like a 17% increase on what I pay.

“One of the high level aims of SBC is to facilitate employment, but this isn’t doing it.”

He also questioned why marina users would be charged £50 for a permit, whereas fishermen and other commercial harbour users must fork out £170 for the first two permits, rising to a maximum of £478 per permit.

Mr Whitton said that although the proposed parking charges may be lower than elsewhere in the town, when added to all the other costs he must cover - he quotes a figure of £2,000 for pier wharfage, a taxation on everything landed - he doubts whether any fisherman will be able to make a living in Whitby and is unsure whether he will be in business in five years’ time.

He attributes a large proportion of the inability of harbour users to make a profit to Scarborough Borough Council who, despite holding consultation groups, have decided to go ahead with these charges.

The Harbour Consultative Group is made up of representatives from businesses around the harbour and other interested parties, but he said: “We have no decision-making powers and seemingly no influence.

“Every harbour user was against car parking charges.”

With a basic parking charge of £50 per permit, Mr Whitton added that the permits will still sell as people who work in the centre of Whitby will purchase Marina car park permits as it is cheaper than parking elsewhere.