Fight for pier funding heading to Westminster

View of Whitby Pier''w140903c
View of Whitby Pier''w140903c

The funding fight to refurbish Whitby’s ageing piers has been taken to Westminster.

Whitby’s MP Robert Goodwill has written to the Secretary of State for Rural Affairs Elizabeth Truss to try and get secure cash for much needed work on the structures.

The piers are in urgent need of work, and if public money isn’t found to match £4.8million in grant funding, a warning has been fired that the piers could fail at any moment - which would have a “catastrophic” impact on Whitby.

Whitby councillor Joe Plant has been working alongside Mr Goodwill in trying to secure the funding.

While he insists work is going on behind the scenes to try and secure the funding, there needs to be public patience, despite the urgent need for the work.

“We have not left it as it is,” said the Borough Council representative.

“We have done a lot of work on funding and strategy, and people are working very hard to get something done behind the scenes, but it takes time.”

Last year £4.8million was gifted by the Environment Agency for the work, but budget cuts have shelved the work.

Independent reports had stated that Whitby’s piers – including the 200-year-old west structure – had a maximum lifespan remaining of just 10 years, and the funding, to be matched by the borough council, would allow urgent work to take place.

The borough council had set money aside that it was to generate through the sale of land on Dean Road in Scarborough to Tesco. But when this deal collapsed due to public protest, Whitby lost this funding, and the project has now stalled.

The work is on ice, despite the authority shelling out millions for Scarborough projects, including the Open Air Theatre and Scarborough Spa refurbishment.

If the piers failed, the low-lying part of Whitby would be battered by storms and waves - leaving it unrecognisable.

“Without the piers, there is no Whitby,” added Cllr Plant.