THE HARBOUR board has opted to dispose of the old ice plant on Pier Road, described as a “black hole in someone’s pocket” by the company who has taken up Whitby’s fish market.
With an estimated repair bill of £200,000 and the new fish market management company now purchasing its own ice makers, Scarborough Borough Council has opted to cut its losses and dispose of the fixture.
Coun Mike Cockerill, Scarborough Borough Council portfolio holder for harbours and land, said: “The future of the existing Ice House and associated ice making plant was raised at the meeting of the Whitby Harbour Board.
“Members were asked if there were any objections to having an officer report prepared into the possible dismantling and removal of the facility and there were no objections.
“The Harbour Board has recently been in successful negotiation to secure the provision of an adequate ice supply for the existing requirements.”
Last year the Gazette reported how the ageing equipment was repeatedly breaking down, leading to the loss of 30p-40p of each kilo of fish landed in Whitby.
Shaun Wood, chairman of Whitby Fish Sales, said: “The existing ice house that no one is using really just needs knocking down, the building isn’t fit for purpose.
“It’s a big industrial thing that takes a lot of money to run, it’s a black hole in someone’s pocket.”
Whitby Fish Sales intend to purchase two new ice machines, to be housed in the current market building, which will itself be divided up between the auction room and an ice storage area.
The £18,000 machines will take up to six weeks to arrive.
Until then ice will be brought in from Scarborough.
Mr Wood added: “We are going to relocate the ice house to the fish market, which has ample space.
“The two machines will make a tonne and a half of ice a day and each trawler needs two tonnes of ice each trip.
“We are going to have a holding bay and I would like to think that it’s going to hold up to ten tonnes of ice, so we could fill every trawler we have got and still have two tonnes left.
“If we are running the machines 24/7 then the fish market has really improved.”