Splashing out on the harbour

Whitby Harbour. Picture Kathryn Bulmer.
Whitby Harbour. Picture Kathryn Bulmer.

Revamping Whitby Harbour and bringing back the fishing industry is going to cost £14 million it has been revealed.

A series of meetings have been taking place between the members of the borough council, regeneration experts and trawler skippers over recent months.

The borough council is now looking at ways of attracting money from external organisations for the ‘Whitby Port and Coastal Defence Investment Plan’ which has identified five key areas which require investment.

They are

•Fish Quay

•The East and West Pier extensions including the footbridge

•Endeavour Wharf

•Eskside Wharf and Parkol

•East side for harbour users

Alex Richards, the council’s regeneration project development officer, said: “We have not got the money but that is the size of the investment we have identified we need in support of fishing, leisure craft and the harbour. The harbour is the centre of the town and is holding everything together.

“The borough council has always had a policy of supporting the fishing industry and recognises its inherent value to the borough.”

The council recently abandoned its own Whitby Harbour Board, established in 2011 as an arms length management organisation to oversee and progress the harbour’s assets, due to “deep-rooted” tension between members, a lack of progress, in-fighting and more time being spent on irrelevant issues such as the price of car parking.

It is being replaced by a Ports Development Group where the council will be hand-picking members.

Mr Richards added: “This will replace the role of Whitby Harbour Board and will be a strategic advisory group to assist the council to make sure it targets investment in the right areas.”

The new group will be tasked with attracting funding for the works needed with one of the main aims being to bring Whitby fishing boats and skippers back to their home port.

Whitby Gazette understands that skippers have outlined why they no longer land or fish out of Whitby - with the lack of facilities, in particular the ice supply, being key.

Whitby ward councillor, Alf Abbott said: “We had a presentation from the trawler skippers on the industry as it is today and why they were struggling. Richard Brewer said what the problems were and how we could improve them. There are no boats landing in Whitby because the facilities are abysmal.

“It was taken on board and this is the step forward that we are going down now.”

Skipper of Copious, Mr Brewer added: “I have put the word around that we are changing positions in Whitby.”