Plan could herald a major tourist boom

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WHITBY’S economy and tourism industry could be set to boom if huge plans come to fruition.

Bosses from North York Moors National Park have outlined key moves to trigger a massive surge in visitors which could attract up to 1 million extra tourists by 2015.

Scarborough Borough Council chiefs this week announced a number of proposals to add to the National Park plan, including how to maximise the ongoing York Potash site on the outskirts of Whitby and augment affordable housing stocks.

In a report from Pauline Elliott, SBC’s Head of Regeneration and Planning, the authority outlined its stance.

She said: “The plan recognises the importance of the National Park to the local economy and the recognition and intention to develop the tourism industry in terms of scale and offer is welcomed.

“The figures indicate an additional 1.6 million visitor days and 1 million tourists by 2015 could be absorbed into the National Park.

“The draft plan also makes reference to the fact that the exploration of potash reserves in under way between Whitby and Scarborough.

“It is essential that should the potash operation ultimately come to fruition, everything is done to ensure that the local economic benefits are maximised as far as possible, and in such a way as to mitigate any direct impacts on the character of the National Park.”

However, despite the inherent positivity, the report also focuses upon factors of concern which councillors would like to be addressed.

The report added: “In terms of business issues, the stated aim is to ensure there will be ‘a range of business and employment opportunities available which benefit local people and which draw upon and enhance the special qualities of the National Park.’

“This is welcomed, however, the plan might benefit from an explicit commitment to develop vibrant, living communities through the promotion of jobs, skills and training.

“The commitment for more affordable homes to meet local needs is welcome.

“However, the draft plan indicates the intention is to deliver 10 affordable homes within the National Park each year.

“This is a matter of concern, given that a recent assessment carried out for North Yorkshire identified an annual need within the Scarborough borough part of the National Park alone of 50 dwellings each year.

“It is therefore recommended the council make representations that this low level of delivery should be raised.”