Clampdown on Whitby businesses blocking the pavement

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Action is set to be taken against cafes and businesses in town who are unlawfully blocking pavements with tables, boards and other obstructions.

The concerns were raised at a Whitby Town Council meeting several months ago, following complaints by disabled visitors who found it difficult to get around.

Now, after contacting the county council - the authority responsible for managing and maintaining highways - a letter is set to be circulated to traders, warning them to keep pathways they do not own clear.

A draft of the proposal of the letter was discussed at the town council’s meeting, which was held on Tuesday last week.

It asks business owners and local traders to consider if general “clutter” around their retail premises is making it difficult for those using pushchairs, mobility scooters or other impairments to get around.

Whitby Town Mayor, Cllr Noreen Wilson, said: “Whitby is such an iconic tourist destination and we need to tackle it before it gets any worse.”

The county council has a duty as highways authority to protect public access to highways, as stipulated in the Highways Act (1980), which states that it is an offence for any person to erect an obstruction in the highway.

Those who do not comply with the law leaves those guilty of an offence liable for prosecution.

Church Street has previously been identified as one of the worst areas, with those on mobility scooters claiming they have been forced onto the cobbled road due to insufficient room on the pavement, caused by such “clutter”.

Cllr Linda Wild said that she is concerned that the cobbled street is also not fit to walk on, but Cllr Wilson said that there are no plans at present for the county council to remove the stones.