Possible end in sight for long-running saga of Scarborough Council's accounts

A long-running saga which has seen Scarborough Council’s accounts for the last four years left in limbo could soon be concluded.

Thursday, 30th January 2020, 5:17 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th January 2020, 5:18 pm

The council’s 2017/18, 2016/17 and 2015/16 accounts were held up as the authority is locked in a legal challenge with a group of residents over how it classifies income and expenditure from Whitby harbour.

Last year it was confirmed that the 2018/19 accounts had also been caught up in the row.

The challenge has come from the Fight4Whitby pressure group which launched a legal challenge in 2016 citing the 1905 Whitby Urban District Council Act, which stated that income from Whitby harbour must be ring-fenced for use within the harbour.

Scarborough Town Hall. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter

The borough council’s external auditor Mazars has now told the council that a second provisional position has been issued, moving them one step closer to making a final decision.

In a report to a meeting of the council’s Audit Committee today it stated: “A second provisional view was sent to the objector and Council on October 29 2019.

“We received a response from the objector on December 12 2019 which we are considering in detail.”

An update will be given to the next meeting of the committee in April.

Scarborough Council has always denied the claims of the Fight4Whitby Group and is now in the process of making a Harbour Revision Order to clearly set out the boundary of the Whitby Harbour and council land.

The order would not affect the historic position relating to the accounts but could help to prevent any future legal challenges.

A Fight4Whitby spokesman said it was unable to comment at this stage for legal reasons.