Whitby’s bonanza man

Don’t you just love characters like Chris Fraser.


Managing director of Sirius Chemicals, Whitby’s bonanza man.

When he gets going with his potash mine (or mines) his vision of Whitby is akin to San Francisco during the Californian gold rush. Unless he has been misquoted he has a vision.

A vision of thousands of jobs being created in Whitby, not hundreds, wonderful though that would be, but thousands. Phew! He is quoted as saying that once he is given permission to mine for potash somewhere in the Whitby district the population explosion will be such that schools, hospital, houses etc will have to be built to cope with the influx of doctors, nurses, teachers, tradesmen and shopkeepers rushing to be part of the Whitby bonanza.

Moreover he can’t understand why applications by Rio Tinto Zinc and Whitby Potash to sink mines were turned down when Boulby was given the go ahead. Let me tell him. A planning inquiry decided that mines at Skelder and another not far from Whitby Abbey would endanger the tourist industry on which hundreds of local people depend and that one mine - at Boulby - would be sufficient.

And so it has been.

If Chris gets the go ahead will he put Boulby out of business and its employees out of work? Presumably a planning inquiry will consider that issue before he gets going. If Boulby can remain and Chris’s extraction point is suitably placed so as not to endanger Whitby as a resort, then we’ll all be able to have a dose of euphoria.

Meanwhile I am reminded of an old film, “Paint Your Wagon”, about the Californian gold rush when actor Lee Marvin is so excited by the vision of beauty he sees crossing the river - the first women to arrive in this entirely masculine society- that to get a dose of reality he dives fully clothed into the nearby ice cold river.

Mr Fraser, the chilly North Sea awaits you.

Jack Clarke, Egton Bridge