WHITBY’S hectic holiday season is well under way but the resort’s cliff lift down to the beach is out of action.
As thousands of people arrived at Whitby’s seafront during Easter, and over the extended May bank holiday weekend, they were greeted by a boarded-up old toilet block, rusty railings and sludge to skip over.
Scarborough Borough Council has closed the historic lift until further notice and furious beach hut users have said it could take another three to four weeks to repair.
The Whitby Gazette has also learned the lift, which dates back to the 1920s, was inspected last year when engineers appointed by the council gave it the all clear but said some parts were ageing.
But as chalet users collected their keys on 30 April, they were told the lift would remain shut and a sign chalked on a blackboard outside says it is closed until further notice.
It means many visitors to the beach, including a number of elderly Whitby residents who rent beach huts and paid their £455 rent up front in March, are unable or are struggling to make their way from the promenade down the 120ft incline to their huts overlooking the beach to enjoy the summer sunshine.
Chalet user Pam Webster, of Westbourne Road, and her family have rented a beach hut for 20 years and said they plan to keep a log of everything that goes wrong as last year the foreshore toilets at the Beach Management Centre were regularly closed due to various faults throughout the season
“The lift was broken at the end of the season and the staff knew when they started putting the chalets up four to six weeks ago that this was still the case.
“Many people rely on the lift because they are disabled and it is paid for up front with our £450 fees in March.
“Maybe we can claim some of fees back due to facilities not being available?”
Her sister Yvonne (58) of Welton Court added: “It’s disgusting the lift isn’t working. I do feel angry about it.”
The anger comes at a time when Scarborough is preparing to welcome the world famous Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra tomorrow of officially open its historic Grand Hall which has had a £6.5m revamp.
John Porteus (82) of Station Avenue has rented a beach hut off the council for 56 years with his wife Margaret and it is now used by three generations of his family.
He said: “I think some incompetent twit at Scarborough wants to be sacked.
“I’ve got a heart problem and walking up there, it doesn’t do you any good.
“We could do with an oxygen bottle just to get up the path.
“The lift closed down in September last year and it’s been closed all winter.
“Why hasn’t it been done?
“Now they suddenly decide to do things when they are needed instead of before they are needed.
“I don’t think they would put up with it at Scarborough.
“Whitby and Filey are the poor relations.
“When I first had a chalet they were £17,10 shillings.
“You get two chairs and a wooden bench but there is no electric or running water inside.
“The chalet hasn’t been painted by the council inside since 1989, I’ve painted it myself.”
Martin Pedley, Scarborough Borough Council’s asset and risk manager said: “We apologise for any inconvenience the breakdown of the lift has caused to not only chalet users but also residents and visitors to the town.
“The council’s contractors are now on site to get the lift back into service as quickly as possible.
“The lift was inspected in April and it was reported that due to deterioration over the winter close down period the ropes, buffer and switches in the car communication needed to be replaced before the lift be returned to use.
“Unfortunately the replacement parts have had to be sourced from overseas which has caused an unforseen delay in the lift being repaired.”
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