Council asks: ‘Why are you ignoring us?’

WHITBY Town Council claims it is being ignored by its Scarborough counterparts.

WTC has been attempting to work with Scarborough Borough Council to resolve the saga of the East Side toilets, as well as other harbour issues, but correspondence from SBC has now mysteriously ceased.

Four letters from WTC have gone unanswered, and at SBC’s Harbour Board meeting on Monday, chairman Mike Cockerill denied ever receiving them.

Ian Havelock, chairman of WTC’s Harbour Committee said: “We are in this extraordinary situation whereby there are now four letters outstanding. These have gone in the strictest channel, through the right protocol, but they are without reply.”

Coun Havelock was one of the WTC members ejected from a meeting of the Whitby Harbour Consultative Group, which is not open to the public.

At the ill-tempered meeting in September, Couns Havelock and Dennis Collins were asked to leave, leading Coun Ken Graham to depart out of protest.

Whitby town councillors have repeatedly called for transparency, insisting that they will not hold “secret meetings” and yet SBC say they will only meet the parish council if the meeting is closed to the public.

Coun Havelock added: “They’ve failed to respond, so where do we go from here? They’re not concerned that we’re elected members of the town.

“To my mind that shows a complete indifference and careless approach to the WTC Harbour Committee.”

At the WTC Harbour Committee meeting which followed Monday’s Harbour Board meeting, councillors expressed their frustration that the borough council had ceased correspondence relating to the harbours.

Coun Wynne Jones questioned whether the harbour board was so reluctant to meet WTC in public due to the incident which occurred at December’s full town council meeting, where Ian Anderson, SBC’s head of legal and support services, was confronted by a member of the public.

The Whitby Gazette has seen copies of the letters, which are addressed from town clerk Pam Dobson to SBC’s head of leisure and tourism, Brian Bennett. Council protocol states that letters should be addressed to council officers, who would then forward them to the relevant members.

In the case of harbour matters, this would be Coun Cockerill, but at the Whitby Harbour Board meeting on Monday Coun Havelock ensured that the minutes recorded Coun Cockerill’s insistence that he had not received the letters.

The Harbour Committee concluded that Mayor John Freeman would propose a meeting between himself and Coun Cockerill to discuss the possibility of holding a meeting in public in an attempt to reopen dialogue between the councils.