A MASTERPLAN is being created in a bid to regenerate the east side of Whitby, which has been dubbed “one of the most disadvantaged areas.”
A working party is already looking at issues surrounding housing, open green spaces, play areas, the role of East Side Community Centre and the lack of amenities such as shops and banking facilities.
The first meeting of the agencies involved was held last week with representatives from the police, Groundwork – a charity which helps neighbourhoods improve and which will drive the project – and both Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) and North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC).
At that meeting it was said that “children were living in very poor conditions” it was “difficult to engage people in this area” and that there was a “lack of aspiration, poor levels of communication” and “many children starting school were unable to speak properly”.
Other areas for concern for the east side of the town which were raised at the meeting were lack of shops and cash machine, a growing sense of east versus west and the division of communities within the east side itself like Church Street, Helredale and the Barratt estate.
It has been decided that the best way to tackle this is to come up with the masterplan which will be implemented by Groundwork.
It is now hoped that local residents and the east side community, from Church Street to the business park on Stainsacre Lane industrial estate, will get on board with the project and say what they think should happen on the east side of town and what should be introduced and improved.
Some ideas already put forward include better lighting and roads infrastructure, the addressing of parking issues and the rejuvenation of the community centre.
Coun Sandra Turner told the Whitby Gazette: “It is a fantastic opportunity for the east side to get involved and tell us what they want.
“It could take five years, but we aren’t going away from this.
“To get started we are finding out what the community want to see.
“If we can do that, however small or large, and work together we can put things in that people actually want.
“We are not here to say we think you need this, it is absolutely not about that.”
However, the project has been met with scepticism – notably from Helredale Neighbourhood Council – set up to fight SBC’s plans to allow Yorkshire Coast Homes to build houses on one of the few areas of green spaces on the east side.
Secretary Viv Wright branded it a “fairy story” because the views of residents had been ignored when they objected to the redevelopment of the playing fields.
She added: “The quotes about locals being involved and aiming to reflect the views of local residents are the ones which stick in the craw.
“HNC members worked hard to ensure that the local residents were involved in the consultations by actively promoting them, yet the resulting views of the residents expressed, showing that they were massively against any development of the field, were manipulated by the council’s officers and then discarded and treated with disdain by our revered councillors.”
Mrs Wright said HNC supported the need for social housing and hoped the east side masterplan was the start of something big because “there is no doubt that something is needed” but SBC has a bigger task in hand in regaining the trust of local residents again.